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Germany: Labour & Employment 2017

Fifty-one leading practitioners are identified in this chapter for their exceptional work representing and advising management on all aspects of labour, employment and industrial relations law.

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Gerlind Wisskirchen CMS Hasche Sigle, Cologne
Christopher Jordan CMS Hasche Sigle, Cologne
Björn Gaul CMS Hasche Sigle, Cologne
Michael Kliemt Kliemt & Vollstädt, Düsseldorf
Thomas Ubber Allen & Overy, Frankfurt
Klaus-Stefan Hohenstatt Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Hamburg


Employment law firm Kliemt & Vollstädt leads the research with six nominations, including founder Michael Kliemt. He is exceptionally well regarded among peers and clients for his distinguished practice. According to sources, “Kliemt is one of the top five practitioners in Germany” and he is known for providing “clearly laid-out and practical advice”. Fellow founding partner Oliver Vollstädt is very highly thought of by respondents for his established practice advising directors, board members and enterprises on the gamut of employment law matters. Markus Bohnau is “certainly one of the best” in the market according to sources, who consider him an expert in collective labour law. The “terrific” Stefan Fischer is well versed in handling matters relating to both individual and collective employment law. Jessica Jacobi and head of the Frankfurt office Christoph Crisolli are also among the leading employment partners at the firm.

Gleiss Lutz also achieves six listings this year. Practice head Thomas Winzer is known for his expert handling of complex labour and employment matters. One observer notes, “He is developing into one of the best employment law practitioners in the country.” The “excellent” Christian Arnold is similarly held up as “a rising star”. Martin Diller covers all aspects of employment law but is particularly noted for his expertise in restructuring, outsourcing, collective bargaining and company pensions. “He is a longstanding name with a superb knowledge of the law.”

Four leading practitioners at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer garner inclusion this year. Klaus-Stefan Hohenstatt is commonly seen as “one of the best employment lawyers in Germany”, known for his adept handling of sensitive employment issues on behalf of both German and international companies. “Elder statesman” Heinz Josef Willemsen is widely recognised for his vast experience handling negotiations with work unions and councils. One respondent describes him as “one of the most brilliant lawyers out there”.

At CMS Hasche Sigle, “heavy hitter” Björn Gaul is one of the best employment lawyers in Germany. Company outsourcings, compliance policies and collective bargaining agreements are just some of the areas in which he excels. The “outstanding” Gerlind Wisskirchen is highly recommended by peers and an international client base, placing her at the top of our research. A number of respondents pick her out as “the go-to labour and employment lawyer in Germany”. Christopher Jordan is also highlighted in this chapter, earning praise as “a clever and resourceful lawyer”.

At Baker & McKenzie, Burkard Göpfert is “definitely a leader in the field”. His impressive practice focuses primarily on HR reorganisations, compliance investigations and anti-discrimination work. Alongside him, the “fantastic” Günther Heckelmann regularly handles employment matters arising from M&A transactions, while Christian Reichel is highlighted for his “strategic approach” to both contentious and non-contentious employment matters.

Allen & Overy’s managing partner Thomas Ubber is “at the top of the field” according to respondents, who find him a “calm and precise” counsel. He advises on staff reduction measures, outsourcing and restructuring matters, as well as strike measures. Hans-Peter Loew is also recognised for his “exceptional” practice. He heads the firm’s employment and benefits practice in Germany and boasts over 20 years of experience in the field. They are joined by Tobias Neufeld, who “belongs to a new generation of talented labour lawyers in Germany”.

Pusch Wahlig Legal’s founder Tobias Pusch is exceedingly well known in the market for his “first-rate work” advising companies, senior executives and multinational corporations. Kara Preedy is highlighted as “a very intelligent lawyer”, whose expertise covers all aspect of collective and individual labour law, from remuneration schemes and data protection policies to the drafting of employment and service contracts. Julia Rath is seen as “the up-and-coming lawyer” at the firm.

The “excellent” Tim Wißmann at Küttner Rechtsanwälte wins praise for the advice he delivers to clients in the IT, automotive and chemical industries.

At Linklaters, Georg Annuß is regarded as “a star in the market”. A client reports that “he would always recommend” him for great experience handling reorganisation as well as collective labour law issues. Jan Rudolph is also recognised in this chapter.

Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek’s Wilhelm Moll is a highly seasoned figure in the market, known for his “outstanding” practice covering a broad range of employment issues. He often handles works constitution law, restructurings, pension schemes and compliance issues. Martin Reufels is “a key name” with a wealth of experience representing domestic and international clients in complex negotiations with trade unions, works councils and executive employees.

Georg Jaeger at SZA Schilling Zutt & Anschütz Rechtsanwalts is a “technically excellent practitioner” who is recognised for his executive advisory work by peers.

At fringspartners Rechtsanwälte, founding partner Arno Frings draws praise from sources for his “excellent negotiation and technical skills”. He has over 30 years of experience in the field and is particularly adept when advising clients on labour issues, personnel reduction and restructurings.

At vangard Arbeitsrecht, the “superb” Corinna Verhoek is praised by peers for her expertise in temporary employment law.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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