SJ Berwin Wins Baker McKenzie Team –

SJ Berwin & Co. has further consolidated its private equity expertise in Germany with the hires of Dr. Uwe Steininger, Dr. Andre Gloede, Dr. Frank Vogel, Justus Binder and Sonya Willimsky from Baker McKenzie.

Steininger was the partner in charge of Baker McKenzie’s private equity expertise. Vogel and Gloede were also partners at Baker McKenzie, and Binder and Willimsky associates.

Having already pushed itself to the forefront in the U.K. private equity market in both fund raising and transactions, SJ Berwin has taken this reputation as its lead into Europe. This sets the firm apart from many of the U.S. and U.K. lawyers that have attempted to penetrate continental Europe via mergers with indigenous firms offering the whole gamut of legal business services.

SJ Berwin Knopf Tullock, along with the Baker McKenzie additions, will now be known as SJ Berwin Knopf Tullock Steininger. Steininger says that the addition of his team from Baker McKenzie complements the strengths of the existing team at SJ Berwin. Steininger will create and be based in the firm’s Munich office along with Gloede, Binder and Willimsky, while Vogel will work from Berlin.

“From our point of view it made sense to focus on what we’re good at. It enables us to create an integrated service that’s much faster and attract high caliber people as a result,” said Jonathan Blake, head of private equity at SJ Berwin. “This will undoubtedly make us one of the few leading private equity/venture capital practices in Germany. And it is a major step in our goal of being the leading private equity/venture capital and transactional firm operating in the enterprise economy in Europe.”

Steininger said that from a strategic standpoint it is the correct fit. “Our focus was very much on private equity/venture capital work which fits with SJ Berwin.”

Blake’s ambition is for SJ Berwin to be the leading private equity law firm in Germany. Having brought Steininger, whom he has known for many years, into the SJ Berwin grouping Blake has his vision firmly trained on the next event: the opening of a Paris office.

Blake is exploring both organic and acquisition growth options but it is too early in the day for him to commit his thoughts to paper. For Blake, Paris seems the obvious missing link if the firm is to truly be capable of offering private equity services across continental Europe’s enterprise economies. In addition to London, and the German offices in Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin, SJ Berwin also has a presence in Madrid and Brussels.