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The Anglo-Australian firm will retain its offices in Frankfurt and Düsseldorf.

By Hannah Roberts | June 04, 2019 at 11:49 AM | Originally published on International

Herbert Smith Freehills plans to close its Berlin office by the end of the year.

The Anglo-Australian firm opened in Berlin in 2013, with a 10-lawyer team led by corporate partners Dirk Hamann and Ralf Thaeter.

The closure leaves the firm with two German offices, in Frankfurt and Düsseldorf.

“After careful consideration and consultation, we have decided to close our office in Berlin,” HSF Germany managing partner Nico Abel said in a statement. “So that we are best placed to meet current and future challenges, and make the most of opportunities, we must ensure we have the right capability in the right locations. We want to concentrate our future growth in Frankfurt and Düsseldorf, as these are the markets with the greatest opportunities for the firm and our clients.”

He added that associates and business services employees based in the Berlin office have been given the option to join the firm’s other German offices.

Trainees are also being offered the chance to relocate, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The person added that discussions are being held with Hamann as to his plans, while Thaeter, the former Germany managing partner who launched the Berlin office when he joined from local firm Gleiss Lutz in 2013, will continue to work across the firm’s other two Germany offices.

“Germany continues to be a key strategic market for the firm, and we remain strongly committed to growing our leading practice in the region,” Abel said. “We are confident that we can continue to provide the same quality and breadth of service to our clients in Berlin from our offices in Frankfurt and Düsseldorf, and our global network across the U.K./U.S., Europe and Asia-Pacific.”

Last June, the firm’s Germany managing partner, Michael Dietrich, left to join Clifford Chance’s Düsseldorf office just five months after he took up the leadership post.