Goodwin Procter has opened its first office in continental Europe, launching in Germany after hiring four Ashurst partners.

The US firm’s new team will be located in Frankfurt. The four recruits have three core focusses which fit with Godwin Procter’s internationally. Marc Bohne and Peter Junghänel are real estate specialists; Stephan Kock handles finance, and led Ashurst's German practice focussed on this area; and Lars Jessen concentrates on private equity work.

Commenting on the move, head of Goodwin’s London office, David Evans, explained it was driven by a desire to enhance its offering in Europe, with an empahsis on two areas in particular. "As we deepen and broaden our London real estate capital markets and private equity practices, it is important that we continue to meet our clients’ European needs,” he said. “Germany is a key market and a focus of our clients’ activity."

Goodwin Procter has made no announcements about the exact composition of the new office in terms of staff, or whether it intends to make any addtional hires.

London is the only other city where Goodwin Procter has base in Europe (it also has a branch in Hong Kong). The Boston firm opened in the UK in 2008, recruiting two partners from Heller Ehrman. In 2011, it expanded the branch with the hire of two Ashurst partners, Evans and Lake Coghlan, with the specific intention of developing the firm’s real estate, fund formation and private equity practices in Europe. The Frankfurt move is a continuation of this strategy.

For Ashurst's mainland offering in central Europe, the loss of four German partrners is the second major blow in two months. In October, DLA Piper recruited a nine lawyer team from the firm in Italy.

Three US firms have now opened in Germany this year. Greenberg Taurig and Hausfeld both launched Berlin offices in 2015, with the former achieving this by taking over Olswang’s branch.