Law Firms

Morrison & Foerster opens Berlin office; is Hogan Lovells miffed?

Morrison & Foerster is opening an office in Germany through the acquisition of a legal team from Hogan Lovells which includes nine partners.

Morrison & Foerster announced the acquisition today in a press release. The partners are currently working with more than 20 associates and counsel, though it’s unknown how many will jump to Morrison & Foerster, according to the Lawyer.

The move apparently came as a surprise to Hogan Lovells. Its co-CEO David Harris told the Lawyer in a statement that the only partner who had handed in notice was Christoph Wagner, the head of its Berlin office.

“Christoph Wagner’s move earlier this month was planned and agreed,” Harris said in the statement. “At the time of his departure, the Berlin office partners expressed their strong desire to stay with the firm and we supported that. Despite that support, they have now gone back on their commitment and have said that they want to leave. We understand they have accepted offer letters from a competitor, however, they have yet to resign letters or deal with the usual formalities. Until they do so, we expect them to uphold all their responsibilities as partners in Hogan Lovells.”

The Berlin office represents less than 10 percent of Hogan Lovells’ total German revenues. Harris said.

The team is known for its deals in the “TMT” sector—technology, media & telecommunications, according to the Morrison & Foerster press release. The acquisition bolsters one of the law firm’s strategic objectives: to grow its global M&A practice.

The German office is Morrison & Foerster’s 17th worldwide and its third in Europe. The law firm also has offices in London and Brussels.

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