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2018: Leading Firms

WWL: Germany 2018 is our latest, comprehensive look at the German legal market. In this edition we list over 300 law firms; however over a quarter of the total listings are achieved by just seven outstanding firms. We profile them in detail below. 

Magic circle firm CLIFFORD CHANCE has German roots that stretch back over 60 years and remains a significant player in the market. Their offices in Munich, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf house 66 partners and 300 lawyers, 32 of whom are singled out for excellence in their chosen fields. While the firm reinforces its status as an elite full-service outfit with 34 listings across 17 chapters, the asset recovery, banking and real estate practice areas rank particularly highly.

The asset recovery practice is the most highly regarded in the country, led by standout partners Heiner Hugger and Sebastian Rakob. Christian Keilich tops our real estate research, an area in which the firm boasts Germany’s foremost team, while Bettina Steinhauer is a key part of a strong banking offering.

A number of the elite lawyers in Germany call Clifford Chance home, including Hugger and Anselm Raddatz, who are both listed across multiple chapters. Ulrich Reese in life sciences, Klaus Minuth in real estate and Marco Simonis in investment management are all highlighted by sources as leaders in their fields. 


Founded as Hasche Albrecht Fischer in 1953 and now part of the CMS stable, Berlin-based full-service firm CMS HASCHE SIGLE is one of the country’s largest, and combines enviable international reach with deep local roots. As part of CMS’s network of 5,000 lawyers in 71 offices across 40 countries, the firm is able to offer both German and international clients a global approach to legal services. The strength of the firm’s domestic offering is also apparent in our research this year; 35 listings across 18 practice areas testify to both the breadth and depth of the talent at the firm.

The arbitration practice, led by the globally recognised Klaus Michael Sachs, is an area of acute strength, boasting a market-leading four nominees. Four outstanding practitioners at the firm are also identified in the real estate chapter, among them standout name Dirk Rodewoldt and transactional specialists Heinrich Schirmer and Volker Zerr. Technology, media and communications represents another key area, garnering six listings in this year’s TMT chapter, including Malte Grützmacher.

Other prominent names highlighted this year include Björn Gaul who draws effusive praise from for his exceptional employment practice. Meanwhile Andreas Otto and Winfried Schnepp are both recognised for their top-tier labour and employment and insurance and reinsurance practices, respectively. 


International full-service firm FRESHFIELDS BRUCKHAUS DERINGER remains the leading outfit in Germany. With an impressive 74 listings highlighted across 26 chapters, it showcases the tremendous depth and breadth of expertise on offer to its clients conducting business in the country.

The firm is particularly prominent in the banking and corporate sectors and is home to some of Germany’s best-known and visible practitioners. It receives the highest number of practitioners listed in the banking chapter compared to other firms and also ranks in the top three firms for M&A. Competition is also major strength for the firm; it boasts the foremost antitrust team in the country. The group is well versed in handling the whole gamut of related matters, from cartels and compliance to merger control.

Prominent practitioners identified by our research include Norbert Nolte who tops our rankings for investigations, and Daniel Reichert-Facilides, who impresses market commentators with his strong project finance practice. Other key individuals include Christoph Seibt and Stephan Eilers who draw high praise for their respective corporate governance and corporate tax practices. A number of leading lawyers at the firm achieve listings in multiple chapters this year, including Andreas König for his first-class work in banking and capital markets, and Rolf Trittmann who stands out for his superb commercial litigation and international arbitration practice.


Leading full-service firm GLEISS LUTZ illustrates its prominent position in the German market in our research this year, achieving an impressive 52 listings across 20 practice areas.  

The firm’s labour and employment practice group stands out in our research as one of the leading teams in the country, with seven exceptional practitioners listed this year. Members are well equipped to handle both individual and collective labour law matters on behalf of domestic and international corporate entities.

Competition is another area in which the firm performs exceptionally well, achieving five nominations. Its extensive offering encompasses the whole gamut of antitrust matters from merger control and cartel work through to compliance and damages actions. The firm also boasts an impressive dispute resolution offering, performing well across our commercial litigation and arbitration chapters this year.

Standout individuals at the firm include Andreas Spahlinger, who is highlighted as the foremost restructuring and insolvency practitioner in the country. Jan Bauer and Michael Arnold draw widespread praise for their exceptional corporate expertise, while Christian Steinle and Martin Diller gain recognition for their world-class competition and labour law practices respectively. 


Since the merger of Hengeler Kurth Wirtz in Düsseldorf and Mueller Weitzel Weisner in Frankfurt in 1990, HENGELER MUELLER has become one of Germany’s leading full-service law firms. It boasts a great reputation in the market for its representation of high-end clients, particularly in some of Germany’s leading deals. It achieves 59 listings this year, 11 of which are in M&A, demonstrating the depth of the firm’s transactional expertise. The firm has been responsible for representing Pirelli in Germany’s first ever hostile takeover bid, and also advised on the three-way merger to create Metro AG. It also performs well in our capital markets chapter, with eight listings, and in corporate governance where seven of its lawyers are listed.

Prominent names in the firm include Thorsten Mäger, a leading light in competition and merger control proceedings who is also highlighted for his world-class energy practice. Dirk Uwer achieves listings across our environment, energy and life sciences chapters, while Reinhold Ernst is recognised for his outstanding capital markets expertise. 


With 35 listings across 15 practice areas this year, HOGAN LOVELLS stands out as one of the top firms in our research.

The firm now known as Hogan Lovells has a long history in Germany, with predecessor firm Boesebeck Droste having practised in the country since 1919, before merging with UK-based Lovells in 2000. With offices in Düsseldorf, Munich, Hamburg and Frankfurt, it has nationwide reach and a presence in the country’s major financial and business centres.

It displays particular strength across technology-focused sectors such as patents, life sciences and TMT, with listed lawyers boasting an impressive depth of expertise in complex technical subjects such as pharmaceuticals, IT and data, and engineering. Other areas of strength include real estate, litigation and capital markets.

Prominent names at the firm include Ina Brock, who excels across three practice areas: life sciences, transport and product liability defence, while individuals such as Karl Pörnbacher (arbitration), Martin Sura (competition) and Andreas von Falck (patents and life sciences) are widely known as being among the very best in the country in their respective fields.


Full-service firm NOERR excels in this year’s research and achieves 62 listings across an impressive 23 practice areas. With six offices in Germany and a stellar reputation for client-focused commercial advice, the firm occupies a prominent position in the domestic market. Its offices span a further five countries, and the firm’s 500-strong team and vast network ensure it is well equipped to service clients in matters both throughout Germany and across Europe.  

With seven outstanding practitioners identified in our research, the firm showcases its unparalleled strength in energy law matters. It achieves a further seven listings for its top-tier expertise across the TMT sector and ranks highly for M&A work, achieving nine listings – which places it among the leading firms in the space.

Prominent individuals at the firm include Martin Ahlhaus and Uwe Erling, both highlighted for their world-class expertise in environmental law. Karsten Metzlaff stands out for first-rate franchise practice, while Peter Bräutigam and Thomas Thalhofer excel in the TMT arena. Michael Molitoris draws high praise for his work handling insurance and reinsurance matters and product liability defence claims.

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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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W11 1QQ, UK