After almost a year of senior exits from Clifford Chance’s German team, the firm has made its first partner hire in almost two years, and it represents something of a coup for its corporate practice.

Freshfields corporate partner and current co-head of the firm’s global energy and natural resources group, Anselm Raddatz, is joining the Düsseldorf office of the firm’s magic circle rival.

Raddatz will jointly lead the UK firm’s German corporate group with incumbent practice head, Thomas Krecek. He focusses on corporate transactional work, and is lauded by his contemporaries in Germany for his M&A and private equity expertise. He recently headed a team advising fund Triton on its €1.3 billion acquisition of GEA’s heat exchanger business.

This marquee hire for Clifford Chance’s German is well-timed. Since the firm began a review of is German offering in late 2014, there have been a seemingly endless stream of partner defections to German competitors, some planned, as the firm looked to create a leaner operation, some unplanned.

Aside from an IP and a finance partner, the remainder of the lawyers that have left the firm were from its corporate team. Among more than 10 who have left in the last 11 months, two of the more recent to resign were unexpected, and the most surprising.

Banking and capital markets head, Alexandra Hagelüken, and joint head of the firm’s global private equity practice, Oliver Felsenstein, both joined Latham in the first half of this year. Other notable loses included two corporate energy specialists, Peter Rosin and Thomas Burmeister, who both joined White & Case.

Raddatz’s hire will address three areas where the German corporate practice was weakened: M&A, private equity and energy.