Legal Business Blogs

KWM exits continue as German banking head takes team to Taylor Wessing

Following the resignations of five King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) partners last week, the firm has lost the bulk of its Frankfurt financing team to Taylor Wessing, which takes on five lawyers including two partners. The exits come as the legacy SJ Berwin practice has halted its recapitalisation plans in the face of mounting departures.

KWM’s German head of banking and finance Sabine Schomaker and partner Clemens Nieder will join Taylor Wessing before the end of the year along with of counsel Ulf Gosejacob and two associates.

The partners joined KWM from White & Case in January 2013. Schomaker and her team have been recommended in the European Legal 500 for their ‘excellent level of service’.

The hire brings Taylor Wessing’s German banking and finance practice up to 17 lawyers. German banking and finance head Peter Seemann said: ‘This is a milestone in strengthening out Frankfurt location and expanding our financing practice.’

The Australian-Chinese firm recently lost key European funds partner Sonya Pauls from its Munich office. High-billing Pauls left for Clifford Chance in August. Pauls has more than 20 years’ experience advising European and global fund managers.

In July, K&L Gates opened an office in Munich with a three-lawyer hire from KWM, bringing in investment management partner Hilger von Livonius.

KWM’s European arm has endured a difficult summer of partner exits, a leadership election and a stalled recapitalisation. Just weeks after electing Frankfurt-based Michael Cziesla as EUME senior partner and London-based Tim Bednall as EMUE managing partner the firm saw four key partners announce their resignations last week.

Key private equity partner Michael Halford and former managing partner Rob Day both resigned along with corporate finance partner Andrew Wingfield and Jonathan Pittal.

The firm’s legacy SJ Berwin office halted its recapitalisation plans following the exits. A spokesperson said at the time: ‘In light of these resignations, the firm has paused its recapitalisation programme in EUME (having received commitments for the requested amount of capital) whilst it assesses the financial impact. We anticipate this process will be complete within four weeks.’

Read more: ‘Comment: the moment of truth arrives in the SJ Berwin saga’