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Skadden Arps Closes Vienna Office

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With Skadden’s sole partner in Vienna, Austria, leaving for Austrian law firm CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz, Skadden is closing its Vienna office. Skadden had launched its office in Austria in 1993 when Wachter expressed his wish to move to Vienna.

However, instead of using Skadden’s office for large mergers and acquisitions, supposedly he has been using Austrian and international law firms with a bigger presence in the city. He will continue to accept work from Skadden as an external counsel, but Skadden is shutting down the office decreasing its overhead.

Stephan Hutter, the Frankfurt corporate transactions and capital markets partner of Skadden stated the situation clearly to Legal Week. He said, “Had Wachter not decided to go to Austria we wouldn’t have opened there, it wasn’t a big enough market and it’s never really developed into a critical mass.”

Hutter will be leading Skadden’s Austrian practice from Frankfurt.

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He also said, “Nobody was forcing Rainer out, it was a strategic decision which coincided with his plans for early retirement.”

However, Wachter does not seem to be retiring though he may have availed the early retirement option at Skadden, since he recently turned 55.

Wachter had in the beginning of his career been with the same law firm which he would be joining. He told the media, “It is almost like coming home.”

Peter Huber, the managing partner of CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz said, “Rainer Wachter joins as one of Austria’s most famous lawyer personalities in corporate transactions,” exhibiting full faith and confidence in Wachter.

The fate of the two associates and one trainee who were in Skadden’s Vienna office is still not known.

Skadden, however, issued a polite statement from the firm saying, “We wish Rainer well.”

According to Hutter, the Vienna office had little significance to Skadden under current circumstances, and he said, “Vienna had mainly been a service hub in addition to some corporate stuff.”

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