In a rare move, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer will combine its Cologne and Düsseldorf offices to create what it says will be the ‘perfect platform’ for a stronger presence in the Rhineland.
The decision to combine the offices, which are around 45km apart, comes as the firm looks to reconfigure its German operation to create more efficiency.
A spokesperson for the firm said the merger is ‘not driven by cost or a requirement to downsize’, but to create ‘greater efficiency’ and have ‘more lawyers in a single location to offer a stronger and more specialist platform.’
Freshfields is currently deciding whether staff will based in Düsseldorf or Cologne, and how much new office space is required. Either way, more space will be needed to accommodate the merger of the two similarly sized offices.
Each office currently has around 20 partners and 120 fee-earners. When combined, the new office will house a 240-strong team with around 40 partners.
Freshfields’ Germany and Austria managing partner Klaus-Stefan Hohenstatt said: ‘We are currently working on medium-term plans to merge our offices in Cologne and Düsseldorf into one office. This will provide us with the perfect platform to create even larger and stronger teams for our clients. The essential aim is to have a stronger presence in the Rhineland.’
The combination is expected to take place next year and will leave the firm with five offices in Germany including Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich, and 600 lawyers in total.
The move comes as White & Case prepares to shut its Munich office after almost ten years since opening, offering its 11-lawyer team the opportunity to relocate to its larger Frankfurt base.
The office closure will affect partners Markus Langen and Tobias Freiherr von Tucher, five local partners and four associates.