Sidley Austin's Munich office has hired seven partners from Kirkland & Ellis, and Linklaters' head of restructuring for Germany as it looks to rebuild its German practice after exiting the country in 2014.
Most senior among the US firm's eight new partners are Kirkland's former Munich managing partner, Volker Kullmann, a private equity specialist, and Linklaters’ Frankfurt based restructuring head - one of the leading experts in his field in Germany - Kolja von Bismarck.
The other hires are Björn Holland, Christian Zuleger, Marcus Klie, and Nicole Schlatter, who are all corporate partners; finance specialist Markus Feil; and Roderic Pagel, a tax lawyer.
Sidley is attempting to rebuild a German offering after closing its Frankfurt office - at the time its sole branch in the country - in 2014. The US firm elected to wind down its German operation after a spree of lateral hires whittled the firm’s Frankfurt team down to only four lawyers.
Only two years later, in 2016, the firm began the process of ressurecting its German practice; on this occasion opening in Munich. A German private equity partner recruited from Kirkland’s London office, Erik Dahl, launched the new branch and is its managing partner.
Last month Dahl, who also jointly leads the firm’s global private equity practice, was joined by corporate partner Jan Schinköth, who was recruited from DLA Piper.
Kirkland may be less severly affected by the departures than it would first appear, with the firm having itself made several notable German hires recently. In 2016 it added three new partners in Munich, hiring Hengeler Mueller trio Achim Herfs, Anna Schwander and Benjamin Leyendecker-Langner (all corporate transactional lawyers), and in 2015 it recruited private equity partner Jörg Kirchner from Latham & Watkins.
In addition to von Bismarck, Linklaters German restructuring team has one other partner, Sven Schelo, an experienced specialist who predates the practice head's arrival at the firm from Clifford Chance in 2009.