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‘Naturally a key market’: HSF launches in Düsseldorf with former CC hire

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has boosted its German capability with the launch of an office in Düsseldorf – its third base in Germany, and hired former Clifford Chance (CC) arbitration partner Thomas Weimann.

The firm is focused on expanding its German network, and will extend its offering in corporate, IP and competition law in Düsseldorf. The new office will target German blue-chip clients and international corporates, including Japanese and Chinese companies.

Weimann will be based at HSF’s Frankfurt office until the Düsseldorf base opens in early 2016. He will be joined by competition, regulation and trade partner, Michael Dietrich and his team who will be relocating from Frankfurt.

Weimann was at CC for 24 years and headed its Düsseldorf arbitration and litigation practice. He has particular expertise in post M&A arbitrations and disputes concerning plant construction, industrial engineering and civil construction projects. He is also president of the Chinese European Legal Association and board member of the Hamburg-based Chinese European Arbitration Centre.

HSF German head, Ralf Thaeter said: ‘Opening in Düsseldorf underlines our commitment to expanding our German offering. Since first opening in Germany in 2013, we will soon have ten extremely talented partners operating across the nation’s financial, regulatory and corporate capitals.’

HSF co-chief executive Mark Rigotti added: ‘As Europe’s largest and strongest economy, Germany is naturally a key market for the firm, especially in light of our strategy to grow our EMEA platform, which will be further strengthened by our forthcoming office opening in Johannesburg.’

The firm launched its own German practice after terminating its alliance with Gleiss Lutz at the end of 2011.

Gleiss Lutz announced recently it would combine with four European firms Chiomenti, Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira and Gide Loyrette Nouel to launch a Frankfurt-based joint focus group for regulatory issues.

The ‘Regulatory Hub’ will comprise lawyers from all four firms, and will target the banking sector with an aim to ‘interact with banking regulators’.

The new hub is being led by partners Vincenzo Troiano and Alessandro Portolano from Chiomenti, Fernando Hernandez Mínguez from Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira, Stéphane Puel from Gide as well as Maximilian von Rom from Gleiss Lutz.

Mínguez said: ‘The Regulatory Hub will allow us to keep dealing with the increasing role of the European Central Bank and the challenges generated by the launch of the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) in an even more efficient way than in the past while working on mandates from any of the four firms.’