Olswang has announced it will shut its office in Berlin and 13 of its partners in Germany will be leaving the firm later this year.
The entire Berlin team, who were mostly focused on financial and corporate work, reputedly intend to form a boutique, although the exact details of the operation are not yet public.
According to Olswang, the split is amicable and was driven by the firm’s intentions to concentrate on its traditional areas in Germany. The US firm’s CEO Paul Stevens said: “Given Olswang’s focus on TMT, we have agreed that our Berlin colleagues will continue to seek to grow their practice under a different brand.”
Olswang, which has had an office in the German capital since 2007, will retain a presence in the country through its only remaining branch in Munich.
The firm’s office in the Bavarian capital was opened in 2011 – reportedly at the request of key client Microsoft - to focus on IP. The firm recently added corporate partner, Robert Heym from local IP boutique GvW Graf von Westphalen, to the Munich team.
Berlin’s contingent of international law firms has shrunk considerably in the past two years. Earlier this year Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe shut its branch; in 2014 King & Wood Mallesons exited the city; and, Hogan Lovells also moved out recently, losing its presence in the capital when Morrison & Foerster annexed its base there in 2013.
An exact date for the closure of Olswang’s Berlin branch has not been given. In the short term, Stevens said the firm expects revenues for Germany to drop.