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Squire Patton Boggs takes Sidley Austin’s last German partner as Taylor Wessing builds private client practice

Eight years after founding Sidley Austin’s office in Frankfurt, Jens Rinze, the firm’s last remaining partner in the country after a spate of exits, has departed for Squire Patton Boggs.

The exits brings an end to Sidley Austin’s German adventure, which began with the arrival of Rinze and Oliver Kessler as partners from Hogan Lovells in the country’s financial hub. The firm had long sought a German presence, having acted for a number of European financial institutions in the US including Deutsche Bank, but the wheels began to come off in 2012 when Kessler, who was the regional managing partner of the law firm, left to join local firm Oppenhoff & Partner. He was later joined by Sidley Austin’s corporate partner Jerome Friedrich. A review of the Frankfurt office was started after tax partner Werner Geisselmeier left for Pinsent Masons’ Munich office in December 2013.

For Squire Patton Boggs, Rinze becomes the firm’s twentieth lawyer in Frankfurt, some of whom also operate in Berlin. His practice has developed to focus on property and property development finance, securitizations, restructuring, loan origination and commercial mortgage-backed securities.

With the firm looking to increase its share of the legal work emanating from a financial services sector caught by a wave of new regulation, Kai Mertens, managing partner of Squire Patton Boggs in Germany, said Rinze will ‘develop our presence in the German real estate institutional investment market and our work with state banks and financial institutions active in Germany and Eastern Europe’.

The firm hired Addleshaw Goddard’s head of structured finance, Mark Thomas, in London last year and is looking to expand in continental Europe now it has strengthened its US base with bank regulatory lawyers Bob Barnett, Jim Sivon and Ray Natter in Washington, DC.

Rinze added: ‘I’m pleased to be joining such a dynamic global financial services practice. I’ve also been impressed by Squire Patton Boggs’ strong and diverse real estate practice in Germany, which is of great benefit to the work I do for a number of clients, and the extensive offices the firm has, especially in Eastern Europe, where there is enormous potential to add yet more value to client service.’

Meanwhile, in the UK, Taylor Wessing has become the latest firm to bolster its capabilities with the addition of two partners to its private client practice as the firm focuses on expanding the group as part of its core strategy. Elaine Dobson joins as head of residential property from Bircham Dyson Bell, while tax partner Antoaneta Proctor joins from Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co.

Dobson replaces Taylor Wessing’s former residential property head Joanna Ward who is retiring after 12 years at the firm. Previously, Dobson led the residential real estate group Bircham, after joining the firm in 2007 as a partner. Dobson specialises in transactional, landlord and tenant issues, and more complex enfranchisement work.

Proctor specialises in international tax and trusts, multi-jurisdictional wealth planning, family governance and business succession, with a particular interest in creating tax-efficient structures. She also has expertise in providing advice in Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States and Eastern Europe.

Taylor Wessing head of private client Andrew Hine said: ‘The addition of Elaine and Antoaneta to the team reflects the firm’s commitment to expanding our leading private client practice, which is an integral and central part of the firm’s overall strategy. With both Elaine and Antoaneta having practices with a significant international dimension, these appointments also reflect the increasingly global nature of our client base. With 26 offices across the globe, we are well placed to service our high net worth clients across Europe, the Middle East and Asia.’