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HSF snatches Freshfields former energy co-head

Herbert Smith Freehills has landed a blow on Magic Circle firm Freshfields with the hire of the firm’s former co-head of energy and natural resources Dirk Hamann as the Anglo-Australian firm looks to build out its German offices.

Hamann leaves Freshfields after two decades at the firm, where he became a partner in 1997. He joins HSF in Berlin, one of two German offices the firm opened at the start of 2013. Hamann, a senior corporate lawyer with a focus on regulated industries, is HSF’s seventh partner hire in Germany since that launch, joining corporate and M&A lawyers Ralf Thaeter and Nico Abel, real estate specialist Hans Thomas Kessler, disputes expert Mathias Wittinghofer, finance partner Kai Liebrich and competition lawyer Michael Dietrich.

Hamann, who exits Freshfields’ Hamburg office, has built a strong renewable energy practice and introduced a low carbon sub-group at Freshfields when he was global co-head of energy and natural resources between 2009 and 2013. 

HSF has experienced a strong start in Germany, and has earmarked the jurisdiction as a core area for investment. The firm is looking to leverage increased trade between Europe’s strongest economy and its Asian offices that were strengthened following its merger with Australian firm Freehills last year.

Ralf Thaeter, who is leading the firm’s development in Germany, said: ‘Dirk is a highly regarded partner whose arrival will help us to achieve one of our key objectives of building a quality German corporate practice that is fully integrated into the firm’s global network. His experience and client base is also closely aligned with our global energy practice, and his presence in Berlin positions us well for the expected upturn in energy-related M&A activity following the German Government’s decision to phase out nuclear power.’

Alvaro Sainz, HSF’s European head of corporate, added: ‘Our team in Germany is already winning interesting and complex cross-border client mandates and, as Europe’s largest transactional market, we anticipate that Dirk will swiftly grow his practice by close collaboration with our network of offices in Europe, the Middle East and particularly Asia.’