Nico Abel joins New York firm's Frankfurt office as an M&A lawyer
M&A practice of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in Frankfurt has hired Herbert Smith Freehills' (HSF) German managing partner Nico Abel.
Having led HSF's German offices for four years, Abel joins the New York firm's corporate and M&A practice. As a partner at Norton Rose Fulbright, he moved to HSF for the launch of HSF's German arm in Berlin and Frankfurt in 2013.
At Cleary, Abel will focus on private acquisitions, dispositions, joint ventures and restructurings. The fintech sector was particularly important to Abel during his tenure with HSF, where he advised Klarna and Heidelpay on a handful of acquisitions.
In his remarks, Cleary's managing partner Michael Gerstenzang said, "Abel is a talented lawyer with a wealth of experience in the European M&A market."
In March, Cleary hired competition partner Isabel Rooms from Linklaters in Brussels to strengthen its EU antitrust team. Cleary's Brussels office received its first lateral hire in 15 years with Rooms, who spent 11 years at Linklaters.
More than half of the new partners were from Cleary's offices in the region during its 2021 batch of partner promotions. In Milan, Brussels, Cologne, and Paris, there were new partners, while in London, intellectual property lawyer Gareth Kristensen and competition lawyer Henry Mostyn were promoted.
Across Cleary's two German offices, Cologne and Frankfurt, there are approximately 60 lawyers working.
Meanwhile, HSF has grown its German team to more than 60 lawyers, including 17 partners, since it first opened its doors in the country in 2013. Earlier this year, the firm closed its office in Berlin in order to focus on rebuilding its capabilities in Frankfurt and in its third German office, which was opened in 2015.
A notable recent move for HSF in Germany includes the addition of Corporate Partners Jan Eltzchig and Heike Schmitz, who joined from DLA Piper in September to strengthen the firm's knowledge of the German insurance sector.
There is currently a search underway for Abel's replacement, according to a spokesperson for the company.