Legal Business Blogs

Simmons latest to benefit from KWM exits as German IP team quits

Simmons & Simmons announced today (16 November) the hire of King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) intellectual property (IP) partner Michael Knospe. He has joined Simmons’ Munich office together with counsel Caroline von Nussbaum and supervising associate Massimo Bellitto-Grillo.

Knospe joined SJ Berwin in 2010 and has a strong focus on trademarks and unfair competition and has experience across a number sectors, including TMT, consumer goods, life sciences and entertainment law. He spent the first 19 years of his career at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, before he joined Howrey in 2007.

Simmons IP head Rowan Freeland said: ‘Michael’s arrival is a real vote of confidence in the firm’s international intellectual property practice and his presence will strengthen both our intellectual property offering on the ground in Germany and our wider international practice.’

KWM’s European partnership has had a difficult run of late, and this week is considering a deal from the firm’s Asian arm for an internal bailout following the halt of recapitalisation talks last month. The European partnership is carrying more than £30m in debt.

The deal is subject to a vote, of which at least 70 out of about 120 partners must agree to. The partnership has until the week beginning 21 November to decide on the deal which includes a 12 month lock-in, a call for contributions from salaried partners of £60,000 and a guarantee that equity partners will receive at least £11,000 per equity point. This would mean the highest earning partner at KWM will have the ability to pocket £660,000 and the lowest earning equity partner £220,000.

For Simmons, the team hire into its IP practice follows a string of exits to Allen & Overy earlier this year. London partners Marjan Noor, Marc Döring, Mark Heaney and David Stone all announced this year they would exit Simmons for the Magic Circle firm.