Magic Circle firm Clifford Chance (CC) has seen multiple partner exits from its German operations in recent weeks with longstanding capital markets partner Markus Pfüller and trademark head Thorsten Vormann becoming the latest, leaving for SZA Schilling, Zutt & Anschütz and K&L Gates respectively.
Reasons suggested for the exodus, which has already seen at least nine lawyers leave including eight partners, point towards a long-term cultural and strategic divide between CC and the German firm it merged with in 2000, Pünder, Volhard, Weber & Axster. One partner at the firm says: ‘The majority of partners came from the 2000 merger with Pünder. There was a difference in culture and since the merger, things improved day-to-day but not on the general standing of what kind of clients we want to advise and where they come from. That has never been solved or overcome.’