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Littler Mendelson Opens First European Offices in Germany

Oct. 5, 2015, 8:05 PM

Littler Mendelson has merged with German labor and employment boutique vangard , adding 21 attorneys to its staff, the firm announced on Monday.

The new offices — in Hamburg, Berlin, Düsseldorf and Munich — are the labor and employment heavyweight’s first in Europe.

Jeremy Roth, Littler’s Co-President and Managing Director, cited vangard’s geographic coverage — the four offices are spread out widely across the country — the English proficiency of its lawyers, and the strength of the German economy as reasons for the acquisition.

“There are a lot of very huge firms in Europe,” Roth said. “But there really isn’t a labor and employment provider that not only does global work, but also has a strong local practice.”

Roth added that unlike other issues that come up in corporate practice, labor and employment problems are often peculiarly local in nature. Littler’s goal, Roth said, is to be a “one stop shop” for global employers.

Littler’s move is the latest is in a flurry of activity in Germany: Greenberg Traurig, Jones Day, Latham & Watkins, and K&L Gates have all made recent pushes in the country.

The office openings are also the latest in a number of global openings for Littler: the firm has christened new offices in at least 12 different countries in the last two years, all in the Americas.

Roth suggested the firm likely isn’t finished: “From a planning standpoint, we’d like to have something in Chile and Argentina. We would certainly like to expand pretty dramatically what we’ve just now launched in Canada.”

Roth said the Littler Mendelson team set a goal early on to close negotiations with vangard by the start of the International Bar Association’s annual conference in Vienna, where Roth is meeting with some of his new German colleagues this week.

Asked whether the new office openings herald a larger expansion by Littler in the region, Roth wouldn’t rule it out: “We don’t really approach these opportunities serially,” he said. “But do we think this is it in Europe? No.”