Following news yesterday (18 June) that 13 equity partners are exiting Olswang’s Berlin outpost, it has emerged that the entire 50-strong lawyer office is set to move en masse and is currently in talks with several international firms, including Morrison & Foerster and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.
Olswang confirmed yesterday that 13 Berlin-based partners, specialising mainly in corporate and finance, will leave ‘by agreement later in the year, along with their colleagues’ and that it is expecting to suffer a drop in revenues.
It has emerged however that all of the office’s lawyers are in talks with several law firms that could offer a strong international platform, including MoFo and Freshfields, to move collectively. A spokesperson for MoFo refused to comment while Freshfields did not return requests for comment. Other US firms are also in talks with the Berlin office but initial speculation that the group would launch as a boutique is understood to be false.
Should MoFo or Freshfields take the Olswang team it would make logistical sense as the firms are all located in the same building, the Kollhoff-Tower on Potsdamer Platz in central Berlin.
Whichever firm the Berlin team decide to move to will be gifted a strong offering. Olswang opened its Berlin office in 2007 and built its team with hires from Linklaters and Freshfields, a move which included its current managing partner in Germany, Christian Schede.
The departures are related to unrest stemming from the London office, most notably the surprise departure of former managing partner David Stewart last October.
For more on Olswang’s strategy and the fallout from Stewart’s departure see: Evasive Action – Can Olswang live up to its own ambitions?