This Special Report covers 38 practice areas.

This will search all specialists in Germany.

Germany In Brief

Beginning 2017 with a 0.6 per cent growth in GDP, Germany’s economy has gone from strength to strength, achieving the best year-on-year growth for more than three years. Despite the political and economic uncertainty currently facing EU member states in the wake of Brexit, it remains a buoyant legal marketplace and a thriving financial hub. As the largest economy in Europe and the fourth-strongest in the world in terms of nominal GDP, Germany is well known for its strong economic performance and long-term growth potential. 


Germany is one of the world’s most sustainable industrial countries, with exports accounting for around 46 per cent of the country’s GDP. Its central location, with easy access to maritime shipping routes, has allowed the export industry to thrive, enabling it to becoming one of the world’s leading exporters. The maritime sector has faced some major challenges over the past year, leading to significant developments in the legal market. With the world’s available shipping capacity outgrowing demand, the global shipping crisis is in full swing. Although practitioners are optimistic that this will not damage German exports, the oversupply issue is leading to a wave of bankruptcies in the shipping industry. With some of the most prominent German shipping companies filing for insolvency, practitioners have experienced an increase in restructuring and consolidation work, which is set to continue for the foreseeable future.


In keeping with its reputation as an international hub for technology and innovation, among Germany’s largest markets are the IP and TMT sectors. Despite delays to the ratification of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement, the country remains at the centre of the patents arena in Europe. Becoming an increasingly popular destination for infringement proceedings, practitioners across the board have noted an influx of clients from the US and Asia who consider the country “a prime litigation venue when it comes to enforcement of rights for major industrial companies”. In the trademarks space too, companies are becoming increasingly global, enforcing portfolios on an international scale.

Although renowned for innovation in the automotive, machinery and chemical sectors, the country is refocusing its traditional industry towards digitalisation in production engineering and logistics. It is now moving to the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution, affectionately dubbed “Industrie 4.0”. Advancements by German companies in technologies such as artificial intelligence and driverless cars are helping to achieve the country’s goal of leading the digital innovation movement. Practitioners in the sector have noted a sharp increase in advisory work surrounding digitalisation, and this is only expected to grow over the next few years.

Data Protection

Through the enactment of the new German Federal Data Protection Act, Germany became the first EU member state to align itself with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), set to come into force in May 2018. By increasing individual rights, strengthening company obligations and introducing greater sanctions for non-compliance, the implementation of the GDPR signals the biggest change in data privacy laws in the last 20 years. The scope of data held and processed by companies is now wider than ever, with potential compliance issues being raised across a range of industry sectors.

All businesses handle personal data to some extent – if not of clients and customer bases, then of their own employees. It is unsurprising therefore that the new legislation is of particular importance to practitioners in the labour and employment sector. With the sanctions for non-compliance with data privacy laws becoming stricter, there has been an upsurge in the number of companies seeking advice on the changes required to comply with the new regulation. A key current area of interest is the increased standard of consent relating to the processing of personal data for employment purposes. These impending changes are also an issue in the life sciences sector. The collection and analysis of sensitive personal data plays a vital role in the pharmacological and medical devices industries. From clinical trials to the monitoring of medicinal products, the sector as a whole is particularly data-rich, meaning that the new regulations may have a greater compliance burden on this sector than others. Likewise, in the TMT space, practitioners have also experienced an increase in clients requesting advice on how to become compliant before the new regulation comes into effect.

Legal Marketplace

Almost 10 years have passed since the financial crisis which devastated the global market. Despite the severe recession in the eurozone, Germany fared relatively well compared with its neighbours. The strength of the German market led to an influx of major international firms headquartered in London, keen to establish bases in the economic nerve centre of the European market. In recent years, however, the fixed pricing structures favoured by these international powerhouses have posed challenges. Over the last year, increased pricing pressure has led to Magic Circle firms such as Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Clifford Change and Linklaters reportedly taking steps to reduce their partner counts in a bid to increase profitability. On the other end of the spectrum, boutique firms such as Soudry & Soudry and American firms such as Latham & Watkins have bolstered their offerings with a number of new hires.

With more entrants into the legal market, the competition in Germany is becoming increasingly fierce. Strong domestic players have long been moving in the same circles as their internationally headquartered contemporaries; however, this year has seen boutique outfits strengthening their foothold in the market. Companies with business in Germany are displaying a reluctance to meet the increasingly high fees proffered by the multinationals, leading to a rise in the number of spin-off firms and boutique firms thriving in the market. These small and medium-size firms are increasingly winning high-value tenders due to their flexible approach to pricing and technical expertise. For instance, sources in our research involved in government contracts work have noted that there has been a rise in major international players are withdrawing from the market, with smaller domestic outfits with more industry-specific knowledge becoming more prominent.

In the following pages, we recognise the leading firms and individuals in the German market across 38 practice areas.

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Analysis: Germany

Germany: Arbitration 2018

In this chapter, 47 practitioners are highlighted for their exceptional work in the field of domestic and international arbitration. Acting as counsel or arbitrator in both domestic and international arbitral seats, those listed are considered leaders in the German arbitration space. 

Germany: Arbitration Expert Witnesses 2018

We highlight 10 leading expert witnesses in this chapter noted for their exceptional work in international arbitral proceedings. 

Germany: Asset Recovery 2018

In this year’s research eight top practitioners are celebrated for their expertise in all matters relating to the tracing and recovery of lost, misappropriated or stolen assets.

Germany: Banking 2018

In this chapter, 29 leading lawyers are highlighted for their expertise handing regulatory and transactional work in the banking sector.

Germany: Business Crime Defence 2018

In this chapter, 41 leading lights are recognised for their invaluable counsel and representation on matters relating to white-collar crime. They are recognised for their skilled defence of German and international companies and advise them on complex investigations and disputes.

Germany: Capital Markets 2018

In this section we feature 33 leading lights in the capital markets space, spanning structured finance and debt and equity transactions. They are highly sought after for their guidance on complex financing transactions, public issuances (including IPOs) and the structuring and sale of financial instruments.

Germany: Competition 2018

We identify 67 leading counsel and litigators for the impressive standard of their competition law practice. Areas of expertise include cartels, merger controls and abuse of dominance cases.

Germany: Competition Economists 2018

We highlight 21 individuals as the leading names in competition economics in Germany. Their expertise is highly sought after by lawyers for their unique perspective on competition matters and the economic and financial repercussions that such issues generate for both private and public entities.

Germany: Construction 2018

We highlight 19 leading individuals in the construction field in this chapter, who stand out for their abilities in leasing, procurement and regulatory matters and their formidable experience in construction disputes.

Germany: Corporate Governance 2018

We highlight 33 leading practitioners in this chapter for their excellent work advising boardroom clients, including boards of directors, management teams, committees and shareholder groups on commercially sensitive and sophisticated corporate disclosure, governance and policy issues.

Germany: Corporate Immigration 2018

In this chapter we highlight six leading lawyers whose practices focus on assisting corporations with the immigration and naturalisation of skilled workers. 

Germany: Corporate Tax 2018

This year, our research identifies 42 of the foremost practitioners in the contentious and advisory corporate tax spaces, acting for clients in both domestic and international tax matters.

Germany: Due Diligence Accountants 2018

In this chapter we highlight seven leading accountants who are recognised for their impressive expertise assessing the risks and opportunities of a proposed transaction, as well as offering advice on relevant conditions, warranties and indemnities that should be included in an agreement.

Germany: Energy 2018

In this chapter, we pick out 27 key names in German energy law. They are selected for their expertise counselling and representing energy companies, groups and investors in a wide range of energy matters, including transactions, disputes, infrastructure projects and compliance matters across the fossil fuels, renewables and nuclear sectors.

Germany: Environment 2018

In this chapter we highlight 28 leading environment practitioners who are recognised for their top-tier work in transactional, litigation and regulatory matters, as well as strategic planning, dispute resolution and administrative procedures.

Germany: Franchise 2018

We recognise 13 leading lawyers who stand out for their excellent work acting for both international and domestic franchisors and franchisees in relation to contentious and non-contentious franchise law issues.

Germany: Government Contracts 2018

This year, 33 prominent government contracts specialists from 23 firms have been highlighted for their expertise in the space. 

Germany: Insurance & Reinsurance 2018

This year, our research identifies 28 insurance and reinsurance practitioners who are highlighted for their outstanding work in the field.

Germany: Investigations 2018

This year 25 investigations experts are highlighted for their excellent work leading investigations and acting for companies and individuals under investigation for white-collar and tax crimes.

Germany: Investment Management 2018

In this chapter, we highlight 23 leading lights in investment management. Those listed below are selected for their proficiency advising banks, financial institutions and private investors on matters ranging from fund formation and restructuring to tax and regulatory compliance. 

Germany: Labour & Employment 2018

We identify 62 standout practitioners in this chapter, who have a proven track record in representing and advising management, and senior executives and partners, on all aspects of labour, employment and industrial relations law. 

Germany: Life Sciences 2018

We highlight 57 leading practitioners in this chapter as the foremost life sciences specialists in Germany. The individuals listed boast expertise across the industry in sectors including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, diagnostics and healthcare. 

Germany: Litigation 2018

We recognise 35 practitioners for their outstanding expertise in national and international commercial and civil litigation. 

Germany: M&A 2018

This chapter recognises 57 leading M&A specialists, identified for their extensive expertise in a wide range of matters, including public and private M&A transactions, joint ventures, private equity and corporate restructurings.

Germany: Mediation 2018

We feature three impressive individuals who stand out in the German market for their work acting as mediators in commercial proceedings across a range of different industries. 

Germany: Patent Agents 2018

We highlight 31 patent agents this year for their skills in licensing, portfolio management and opposition filings and their leading counsel and depth of experience in the field.

Germany: Patents 2018

A total of 62 leading lawyers are recommended for inclusion this year thanks to their exceptional technical expertise and knowledge of patent law.

Germany: Private Client 2018

In this chapter we identify 11 leading practitioners highlighted for their expertise in advising high-net-worth individuals and families on estate planning, trusts, transactions and wills. 

Germany: Product Liability Defence 2018

Eleven leading practitioners are highlighted this year for their expert handling of complex business to business and business to consumer product liability cases across a range of sectors including pharmaceuticals, automobiles and consumer products.

Germany: Project Finance 2018

We feature nine impressive practitioners in this chapter who are highlighted for their excellent work advising sponsors and lenders in project finance and refinancing transactions.

Germany: Real Estate 2018

In this chapter, 53 leading lawyers have been singled out for their expertise in a broad range of domestic and international real estate services, including real estate financing, development projects and single asset and portfolio transactions.

Germany: Restructuring & Insolvency 2018

We highlight 33 practitioners in this chapter who stand out for their impressive work advising on a range of matters including rescue, reconstruction and insolvency procedures, financial restructurings, leveraged buyouts and liquidations, among many others. 

Germany: Sports & Entertainment 2018

This year 19 leading practitioners are highlighted for their exceptional skills in the sports and entertainment industries. The lawyers featured are experts in a wide range of areas, including contract and competition law, intellectual property considerations and transactional, merchandising and licensing work.

Germany: TMT 2018

We recognise 100 practitioners in this edition for their leading practices in the fields of technology, media and telecoms where they handle transactions, regulatory matters and disputes for both national and international clients.

Germany: Trade & Customs 2018

Seven of the country’s foremost trade and customs law specialists are recognised this year for their extensive experience in the field.

Germany: Trademarks 2018

This chapter highlights 71 leading practitioners who are recognised for their extensive experience advising global brands on the management of large trademark portfolios and litigating in a range of matters in including infringement proceedings, counterfeiting and unfair competition.

Germany: Transport 2018

We highlight 43 practitioners in this chapter who stand out for their expertise in handling a wide array of aviation, shipping and rail law matters including financing, logistics, transactions, insurance and crisis management.

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Firm Profiles: Germany

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. 



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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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