Germany possesses one of the leading but most complex legal markets in Europe, which is spread across large and small cities alike. Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich and Düsseldorf are centres of great and highly competitive legal activity; however, with regards to the development of various law firms, the country has seen many expand and others shut down operations entirely over the past year. Olswang, for example, has ceased business in Berlin, having lost 13 equity partners in June 2015. This leaves the firm with just one German base: Munich. Other firms have opted to strengthen their Frankfurt office and close down others, as exemplified by Hogan Lovells and Shearman & Sterling back in 2013. Clifford Chance has also suffered the departure of multiple partners to competitors.
While the German legal market has experienced a series of exits, it has also had its share of successes – including large firms such as Reed Smith, which celebrated 10 years in Germany by opening in Frankfurt. Another market trend is the increase in boutique firms, which are often established by former partners of larger law firms – as was the case with King & Wood Mallesons, which shut its Berlin office in March 2014 and led former partners to establish Vogel Heerma Waitz. The success and continued growth of boutique law firms indicates the diverse and competitive nature of the German market. It would seem that there is room for everyone.
The German energy sector has undergone some of the most notable changes this year. This comes as no surprise when one considers the recent shift in government policy that now favours renewable sources and seeks to discourage the use of fossil fuels. The policy, known as Energiewende (“energy change”), aims to obtain 80 per cent of Germany’s power from renewable sources by 2050. Furthermore, these recent changes mean priority access to power grids goes to plants that adopt “cleaner” methods. These measures – along with, for example, the recently introduced nuclear-fuel tax – have prompted long-established energy companies, including E.ON and RWE, to re-evaluate their position in the ever-changing energy market, and move away from traditional power sources. Germany’s position as a leading global economy in renewable energy production is reflected in the increase in demand for advice from leading practitioners. Our research this year highlights 20 lawyers nominated in this edition for their expertise in the field. Such findings demonstrate not only the vast amount of work existing in the sector, but also the high calibre of legal advice required to handle it.
Business developments in the country have greatly affected the legal market recently, with the spotlight shone particularly on cases of corporate corruption. Acts of misbehaviour in leading corporations are not new to the country: in 2008 Siemens was involved in a string of corruption scandals. However, almost eight years on, work of a similar nature continues to arise. The most notable case of corporate misdemeanours in recent months has been the Volkswagen emissions scandal, which looks sure to provide plenty of investigations work in the year to come, as well as possible criminal proceedings from the US and elsewhere. Deutsche Bank has also been the subject of investigations in the past year, and has been hit with allegations of criminal tax fraud. These, and various other cases of serious corporate corruption over the past few years, have prompted German authorities to clamp down on such activities and adopt a stricter approach to anti-corruption policies. It would seem that it is no longer just corporations that are being assessed: a recent probe into the German healthcare system indicates that the problem could be more widespread than previously thought. The emphasis on anti-corruption methods has seen practice areas such as corporate governance, business crime defence and investigations receive a growing amount of work over the past year. Across the three sectors, 85 lawyers are highly recommended, highlighting the impressive talent in these areas.
The TMT sector has also experienced changes and conflicts, most notably with regards to the controversy surrounding technology giant Google. The company was recently charged by European competition watchdogs with monopoly abuse, having been seen to give advantage to its own shopping comparison service through unfair promotion on its search engine. A development with a more widespread effect has been the changes in German data protection laws. Those who previously would not have attempted to dispute or start litigation against prominent companies are now in a better position to do so. These changes have applied increased pressure on large companies to efficiently regulate their activities and avoid data protection breaches. It is evident that the practice area has undergone many alterations over the past year, thus increasing the amount of work available to leading practitioners. This edition includes 73 “first-rate” TMT lawyers – five more than last year’s already impressive total.
Throughout this edition, our comprehensive research identifies the leading lawyers and firms in Germany across 40 practice areas.
In this chapter, 44 individuals are singled out as leaders in the field.
We have chosen four of the most highly regarded expert witnesses in Germany.
In this chapter 7 individuals are recommended for their expertise.
This year 27 practitioners have been identified by our research as the leaders in the field.
This year 44 practitioners have been identified by our research as the leaders in the field.
This year 24 practitioners have been identified by our research as the leaders in the field.
In this chapter, 61 leading lawyers in the field of competition are singled out.
This year, we recognise 12 practitioners are in the construction arena.
We recommend 22 lawyers for their notable work in corporate governance.
This year 4 practitioners have been identified by our research as the leaders in the field.
This year 41 practitioners have been identified by our research as the leaders in the field.
We also list the eight leading due diligence accountants in Germany.
This chapter features 21 individuals for their energy expertise.
In this chapter 23 lawyers are highly reputed.
This year 9 practitioners have been identified by our research as the leaders in the field.
In this chapter 25 individuals are recommended for their expertise.
There are 23 lawyers practising in the areas of insurance and reinsurance that are recommended in our listing.
There are 19 lawyers selected for recommendation in investigations.
In this chapter 26 individuals are recommended for their expertise.
Our research recognises 42 management and employment lawyers as leaders of their field in Germany.
In this dynamic sector of the German economy, we identify 59 leading lawyers who are specialists in the areas of patent litigation and product liability, as well as experts at handling related regulatory and transactional matters.
This year, we single out 24 lawyers for their notable commercial litigation work.
This chapter features 12 leading practitioners.
We recognise 46 leading practitioners in our research.
We also include 10 patent agents in this chapter.
In this chapter, 39 leading lawyers in the area of patents are recommended.
This year 12 practitioners have been identified by our research as the leaders in the field.
This year’s private client chapter highlights nine leading practitioners.
This year twelve practitioners have been identified by our research as the outstanding leaders in the field.
We select three standout individuals in Germany for project finance.
In this chapter, 35 leading lawyers in the area of real estate are singled out.
In this chapter we single out 25 individuals considered leading in the field of insolvency and restructuring
We select seven standout individuals in Germany for project finance.
In this chapter we single out 73 individuals considered leading in the field of insolvency and restructuring.
This year six practitioners have been identified by our research as the outstanding leaders in the field.
We select 32 standout individuals in Germany for trademarks.
This year 27 practitioners have been identified by our research as the leaders in the field.
Clifford Chance’s origins in the country stretch back over half a century; today it is one of the most instantly recognisable international firms in the German legal market. The firm boasts offices in Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich, and is serviced by over 350 lawyers in total – allowing the firm to provide deep-rooted local knowledge along with an expansive international reach. We recognise the firm in 15 practice areas, with outstanding capabilities in banking, real estate and project finance.
CMS is one of Germany’s leading commercial law firms. With more than 600 lawyers and tax advisers, the firm has eight offices in the major business centres of Germany. As part of the wider CMS International network, the firm is further supported by more than 3,000 lawyers and tax advisers at 53 locations worldwide. This extensive global reach allows it to offer a comprehensive service and provide the highest quality advice to clients, reflected by its 31 listings in 19 different practice areas of law in this edition.
Fortifying its status as a powerhouse of legal excellence, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer continues to secure its position as a leading firm, garnering 64 listings over 25 practice areas in this edition. The world-renowned practice has 27 offices in 17 jurisdictions, and in Germany it is noted for its particularly outstanding practice in the areas of competition, banking, M&A and corporate tax.
Gleiss Lutz is one of Germany’s leading law firms, with over 300 lawyers (including 87 partners) and six offices in Germany, as well as an office in Brussels. The firm boasts a strong performance across the board, with 45 listings in 20 practice areas, with particular strength in competition, corporate and employment law.
With more than 240 lawyers (including 90 partners) at its disposal, Hengeler Mueller is a dominant feature in the German legal market. The firm has offices in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich, Brussels, London and Shanghai, and was created via a merger in 1990. The firm’s reputation in the corporate and finance markets is “second to none” and overall the firm achieves 44 listings in 15 distinct areas of law in this edition.
Hogan Lovells has four offices in Germany: Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich. It uses its network to provide clients with advice in the jurisdiction wherever they are doing business. The firm’s offices are particularly renowned for their life sciences and IP expertise as attested by our research. In total, Hogan Lovells achieves 29 listings across 13 practice areas in this edition.
Noerr is one of Europe’s leading law firms, with more than 500 professionals in Germany, Europe and the USA. It prides itself on its ability to deliver legal excellence, creative thinking and international experience to clients, who include multinational companies, financial institutions and family businesses. In Germany, the firm has offices in Berlin, Dresden, Frankfurt am Main, Düsseldorf and Munich. Noerr performs strongly this year with 39 listings across 16 practice areas.
For more than 30 years now, we have been an expert in restructuring and turning around companies that have been affected by a crisis. With more than 330 employees in over 40 offices in Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland, we have been one of the leading restructuring companies for many years, as shown by listings in INDat, JUVE, Wirtschaftswoche, Focus, Handelsblatt and Who’s Who Legal.
It is not possible to buy entry into any Who's Who Legal publication
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.