Eversheds Sutherland to shut down its Berlin office

Eversheds Sutherland is set to shut down its Berlin office, which was established a decade ago, resulting in a remaining network of four offices across Germany. Specifically, the Berlin branch was inaugurated in 2014, initially concentrating on labor and procurement law.

As stated by the firm, this decision came after a strategic evaluation of its operations in Germany. The Frankfurt office saw significant growth in January with the addition of a 10-lawyer team from King & Wood Mallesons (KWM), stemming from an exclusive partnership the two firms established in 2022.

Following the closure, Eversheds will maintain offices in Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Munich.

Currently, the Berlin office accommodates partners Carsten Brueninghaus and Christian Hilpert, both long-time firm members, along with two counsel and five associates. Brueninghaus, who leads the Berlin office, is a corporate lawyer and notary who has already decided to join a specialized notary firm.

Meanwhile, Hilpert, who heads the German restructuring and insolvency as well as the banking and finance practices, will transition to Eversheds’ Munich office. The firm mentioned that discussions regarding potential relocation options for the broader Berlin team are ongoing.

Eversheds emphasized that Germany remains a crucial market for the firm due to robust client demand. The expanding practice in Germany now includes 45 partners and over 200 lawyers.

The Frankfurt office, opened at the beginning of last year, was led by corporate partner Steffen Schniepp from PwC Legal. Following this, M&A partner Silke Gantzckow from Baker McKenzie was also recruited.

The KWM team’s arrival in January, which included four partners, was part of an agreement requiring KWM’s China division to refer all outbound legal work related to the UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and South America to Eversheds International. In return, Eversheds would refer China-related legal work to KWM China.

This arrangement involved KWM closing its six offices in the UK, Europe, and the Middle East by October this year, with KWM staff being invited to join Eversheds, depending on practice needs. This transition has now been completed.

In addition to the team in Germany, 15 lawyers from KWM joined Eversheds in London, with teams also transitioning in Italy and the United Arab Emirates.