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HSF appoints Freshfields’ co-head of power and utilities as it ramps up German push

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has landed M&A partner Christoph Nawroth from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Dusseldorf.

Nawroth co-headed the Magic Circle firm’s global power and utilities group and its infrastructure funds group during his time at the firm. The high-profile hire by HSF follows a contrasting time for the London rivals in Germany, with Freshfields shrinking its presence in the country after closing its Cologne office, whereas HSF has rapidly scaled up since launching in Frankfurt and Berlin in 2013.

Since 2013 HSF has grown to more than 55 lawyers, including 16 partners, across three offices. The firm launched in Dusseldorf in March with the arrival of former Clifford Chance arbitration partner Thomas Weimann.

Nawroth is not the first Freshfields partner depart for HSF in Germany, with the firm’s former co-head of energy and natural resources Dirk Hamann switching two years ago in a blow to the Magic Circle firm.

Scott Cochrane, HSF’s head of corporate, said: ‘Christoph will help us further enhance our offering to our clients in Germany, a crucial market for us given the size and strength of its economy and more widely EMEA, a key region for our firm.’

Ralf Thaeter, Germany managing partner, added: ‘According to Thomson Reuters, acquirers listed in Germany were EMEA’s most acquisitive companies for Q1 2016, with a combined total of almost $85 billion in offers. We anticipate a steady flow of M&A deals to continue and the strategic hire of Christoph, a highly respected practitioner with an outstanding reputation for handling complex transactional work for blue chip clients, aligns to our ambition to be a leader in the market.’