Biglaw, Ho-Love, Lateral Moves, Musical Chairs, Partner Issues

Morrison & Foerster Takes Berlin; Is Hogan Lovells Annoyed?

Congratulations to Morrison & Foerster. The firm just announced the launch of its first German office, built around all nine former Berlin partners of Hogan Lovells.

MoFo’s new German team is known for its expertise in Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) transactional work. The Berlin office in the firm’s third outpost in Europe and its 17th office worldwide.

How is Hogan Lovells taking news of the departures? As the ABA Journal wondered in a headline, “Morrison & Foerster opens Berlin office; is Hogan Lovells miffed?”

It would seem the answer is ja….

Apparently Heidi Klum does a better job of saying auf Wiedersehen than the Berlin partners of Ho-Love. Here’s a statement that David Harris, co-CEO of Hogan Lovells, issued to Legal Week:

[Former Berlin managing partner] Christoph Wagner’s move earlier this month was planned and agreed. 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.

Meaning that they still owe duties of loyalty to Hogan Lovells. Ho-Love über alles?

The nine Hogan Lovells turned MoFo partners currently work with more than more than 20 associates and counsel. It’s not clear how many of them will make the jump — although probably all or most will in the end, given that the partners who give them work have moved. But if any associates want to stay at Ho-Love, they can transfer to one of the firm’s four other German offices, according to The Lawyer.

Congrats again to Morrison & Foerster on its new presence in Germany. The German economy continues to flourish (which partially explains Chancellor Angela Merkel’s big win in the recent elections), and hopefully the legal business will too.

Morrison & Foerster to Open in Germany [Morrison & Foerster (press release)]
MoFo launches in Germany taking Hogan Lovells’ Berlin office [Legal Week]
MoFo snaps up Hogan Lovells’ Berlin office for Germany launch [The Lawyer]
Morrison & Foerster opens Berlin office; is Hogan Lovells miffed? [ABA Journal]
Willkommen in Deutschland: Morrison & Foerster Opens in Berlin [WSJ Law Blog]

(Disclosure: MoFo is an ATL advertiser.)

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