Law Practice Management

New Milbank Partner Quits After Former Firm Alleges 'Personal Misconduct'

Less than a week ago, a German lawyer’s leap from Hengeler Mueller to the local offices of Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy was being portrayed as a coup for his new United States-based law firm.

Now, however, less than two weeks after he started work as a partner of the firm Jan. 1, Wolfgang Grobecker has already departed Milbank’s approximately 35-lawyer German practice. He resigned from Milbank effective yesterday, Munich partner Peter Nussbaum tells Legal Week.

The sudden move follows an unusual public claim by Hengeler that Grobecker was asked to leave late last year over alleged, unspecified misconduct, the legal publication states.

Grobecker, who has a corporate advisory practice, had spent his entire career at Hengeler. He made partner in 2005, five years after joining the German powerhouse, the Lawyer reported Jan. 5. It noted that the partner departure “suffered” by Hengeler was a rarity.

“I enjoy working on international projects and I felt that they’ve been on the decline at Hengeler and on the rise at Milbank,” Grobecker said at the time. “Milbank’s international business was an important reason.”

A subsequent Lawyer article today quotes Hengeler partner Markus Meier as saying that “Wolfgang Grobecker has not been active for Hengeler Mueller since 23 November 2009. The firm was forced to part with him due to unacceptable personal misconduct in the workplace not related to the firm’s business.”

None of the articles today contain any comment from Grobecker or his counsel. He did not immediately respond to an ABA Journal attempt to contact him through Milbank’s office in Munich, where the business day had already ended.

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