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Addleshaws launches first European base in Hamburg with five-partner BCLP hire

Addleshaw Goddard will open its first continental European office in Hamburg with the hire of a five-partner team from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP).

Addleshaws said today (8 May) it will open its sixth office outside the UK next month, with five lawyers joining partners Exkart Budelmann, Michael Leue, Martin Lüderitz, Maximilian Karacz and Hubertus Schröder in the move from BCLP.

Budelmann and Leue founded the legacy Bryan Cave offices in Germany in 2007, with Leue serving as managing partner in Germany. Addleshaws’ Hamburg office will focus on M&A and private equity, commercial, employment, international trade and litigation advice.

The UK top-20 law firm has long been interested in the German market, with merger talks between Addleshaws and German firm Luther called off in mid-2017. Last year, Addleshaws managing partner John Joyce told Legal Business the firm wanted to expand in any possible way and in any possible location following a sustained period of growth and the early signs of a successful Scottish merger with HBJ Gateley.

Of the Hamburg opening, Joyce commented: ‘Germany is one of the world’s largest importers and exporters and the opening of an office there is a decisive first step in our plans for continental Europe, which in due course may involve other European jurisdictions given the strong preference by many businesses for a fully integrated service.’

Leue said: ‘Today’s announcement has all the key ingredients for clients in Europe, the USA and further afield who will be attracted by the advantages of working with a competent and growing European business rooted in the German market with strong links into the City of London. We are excited about joining Addleshaw Goddard and the possibilities to leverage our local expertise on a global scale.’

A BCLP spokesperson commented: ‘Germany is a core part of our firm, where we have more than 45 lawyers who work across three offices, Berlin, Frankfurt and Hamburg, and with the rest of our firm to provide our clients with an efficient and high quality service.’

They added: ‘Roland Fabian, country managing partner for Germany, will continue to lead our offices there and oversee our strategic plans in the country, where we have grown rapidly in the last five years. We are sorry that two of our corporate partners based in Hamburg, Eckart Budelmann and Michael Leue, will be leaving us to start a new office elsewhere, and we wish them well.’

Hamburg follows openings in Singapore, Dubai, Oman, Qatar and Hong Kong for Addleshaws since 2012. Last year, the firm turned to Bryan Cave’s merger partner, Bryan Leighton Paisner, for the hire of that firm’s then-Asia head, Bob Charlton, with Addleshaws looking to triple the size of its Asia capability to at least 12 partners.

Revenue for the 2016/17 financial year was up 23% to £242m from £197m, while profit increased 36% to £87m. Since 2012/13, Addleshaws’ revenue has increased 45%, while profit is up 68% over that same period. The financial results were bolstered by the inclusion of its Scottish merger with HBJ Gateley – a £20m firm which formally combined with Addleshaws on 1 June 2017 – but also includes organic growth, with England up 11%, Scotland 9% and the foreign exchange-impacted international arm 7%.