King & Wood Mallesons has incorporated a new limited liability partnership on Companies House called ‘KWM Deutschland’.
Legal Business understands the new entity, registered on December 12, will be a part of KWM’s European presence alongside other offices.
It is understood the firm was registered as part of KWM China’s efforts to maintain a presence in Europe. It is not clear how many legacy SJ Berwin partners will be part of the new entity.
Listed as officers of the new LLP are managing partner Tim Bednall and senior partner Michael Cziesla.
KWM’s legacy SJ Berwin practice is listed as ‘person with significant control’ with more than 25% but not more than 50% voting rights, more than 25% but not more than 50% rights to surplus assets and the right to appoint and remove members.
The move comes during a turbulent time for the practice as partners have peeled away since the firm failed to recapitalise its business in November.
Since then the firm had been looking for a merger suitor, and earlier this week management told partners it will be moved into administration on January 16. Dentons, which had originally signaled its intent to merge with the legacy practice, quit talks.
At the earlier meeting staff were told if they did not already have a new offer of employment they would no longer need to give notice to leave the firm. It is also understood that employees will be paid weekly in the new year.
Lawyers were also told not to take on any new work or clients, unless they had an offer to move to another firm.
As revealed by Legal Business, Reed Smith is the latest Global 100 firm in discussions to take on partners from King & Wood Mallesons’ European partnership. Since then it has emerged that Gareth Amdor, London head of tax and former contender in the managing partner race earlier this year, is one of the partners in talks with Reed Smith.
KWM declined to comment.