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Coming out swinging – the Ince fightback continues with team hire for Cologne launch

Shipping and insurance specialist Ince & Co has opened an office in Cologne with a team of four including two partners from CMS Hasche Sigle and German insurance practice Bach Langheid Dallmayr.

The move, part of an ambitious attempt to reposition the 280-lawyer City firm after a string of departures and tough conditions in its core shipping disputes sector, will hand Ince its second office in Germany, following the launch of its Hamburg arm in 2001.

Stefan Segger joins from CMS, where he was a partner and former head of insurance along with two associates Barbara Lorscheid and Marie Holzhauer. Segger advises clients in the insurance and reinsurance sector on both contentious and non-contentious matters, regulatory work and competition law. Eva-Maria Goergen joins from Bach Langheid, where she was a partner and represented insurers and reinsurers on contentious matters.

Ince senior partner Jan Heuvels (pictured) said: ‘Opening in Cologne is consistent with our strategy of growing our business in our core sectors and geographies.’

The firm’s Hamburg office has over 30 lawyers advising on both contentious and transactional matters across the firm’s core business areas of aviation, business & finance, commercial disputes, energy & offshore, insurance & reinsurance, trade and shipping.

Heuvals has been pressing to modernise Ince after a period in which the firm has been battered by falling revenues and partnership divisions, with revenues dropping 8% to £79.4m in the 2014/15 year. The firm did, however, in April announce the return of shipping disputes rainmaker Faz Peermohamed to head its maritime practice, returning one of its top business generators to the fold.

Ince last month also announced the launch of a new consultancy arm, which will offer non-legal services to the shipping, energy, insurance, aviation, trade and real estate industries. The consultancy launch came as Ince confirmed it is moving away from its traditional lockstep and expanding a bonus pool to reward and retain top performers.

See Ports in a storm – Can Ince get back on course? for an in-depth look at the challenges facing the firm