In what both firms described as the result of an ‘amicable’ discussion, Weil’s Budapest managing partner David Dederick will co-lead Bird & Bird’s local operations from 1 February.
Partner Konrád Siegler will join him together with three counsel, 10 associates and five trainees, bringing Bird & Bird’s Budapest headcount to 29 and making the office a key hub in the firm’s south-eastern European operations.
‘We have reached a very amicable arrangement with Weil, and I am absolutely sure the good and strong relationship will be maintained,’ said Bird & Bird international disputes head Peter Knight, who will head the Budapest operations together with Dederick. However, he denied there were any arrangements in place for a formal collaboration between the two firms on specific projects.
Weil’s former team will complement Bird & Bird’s traditional capabilities in tech and comms, IT, data and IP along with a financial services presence. The team will have a sector focus in energy and utilities, life sciences and healthcare.
Dederick specialises in cross-border M&A, private equity and real estate operations, while Siegler’s practice focuses on finance and capital markets transactions.
‘Budapest will become a pivotal centre to increase our work in eastern Europe and the Balkans and be a powerful centre in central Europe alongside Warsaw, sitting very comfortably with our German presence,’ added Knight. Bird & Bird also has two smaller offices in Slovakia and Check Republic.
A spokesperson for Weil said the firm would ‘continue to support the office during a transition period and would look to refer appropriate work to them’, adding: ‘Over the years, our Budapest office has been involved in milestone transactions in Hungary. We are very proud of all that our colleagues have achieved, and we know they will continue to accomplish great things.’
The announcement marks the latest act in Bird & Bird’s global expansion, one of the key factors behind the firm’s 162% revenue growth over the last ten years .
Last year the firm signed a co-operation agreement with noted Chinese shop AllBright and announced plans for a San Francisco base , as well as launching a second Dutch base in Amsterdam .
As for Weil, the Budapest closure comes one year after the firm announced it was shutting its Dubai arm . The US giant also lost a four-partner Silicon Valley corporate team to Hogan Lovells last spring .