Martin André Dittmer is managing partner at Gorrissen Federspiel and heads the firm’s EU and competition group. He advises clients on all competition law issues, with a particular focus on merger control in M&A transactions. He has been involved in some of the most complex Danish mergers dealt with by the European Commission, the Danish competition authorities and foreign competition authorities over the past many years. He is a frequent speaker at conferences in Denmark and abroad.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PURSUE A LEGAL CAREER?
My family has been lawyers for generations. However, my parents actually encouraged me to pursue a career as a cellist. I felt it required too much work so I turned to law…
HOW HAS THE MARKET CHANGED SINCE YOU FIRST STARTED PRACTISING?
The market is totally different from when I started practising competition law in 1998 where Denmark got its first prohibition legislation. At that point in time we were only a handful of lawyers practising competition law in Denmark. Now, as chairman of the Danish Association of Competition Lawyers, I welcome approximately 100 competition lawyers and economists for every conference we hold.
YOU HAVE A DISTINGUISHED REPUTATION FOR HANDLING MERGER CONTROL MATTERS. WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES YOUR PRACTICE STAND OUT IN THIS FIELD?
Experience. I have probably been involved in more cases than any other competition lawyer in Denmark since we got our merger control rules in 2000, and in particular I’ve acted in the majority of the more complex merger control cases in Denmark. Furthermore, it so happens that I have also been involved in landmark cases in Germany and before the European Commission involving Danish clients.
HOW DOES YOUR ROLE AS SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE EUROPEAN MARITIME LAW ORGANISATION ENHANCE YOUR PRACTICE?
Since the European Commission gained powers to enforce the competition rules against tramp shipping, this has played an important role in my practice and in my work with EMLO. Being secretary general of EMLO entails interaction with practitioners from all over the world, with a focus on competition law in the maritime sector which again has been important to the development of the competition practice of Gorrissen Federspiel.
ECONOMETRIC ANALYSIS IS TAKING AN INCREASINGLY CENTRAL ROLE IN COMPETITION LAW. HOW HAS YOUR FIRM ADAPTED TO THIS?
That is true. We decided in 2013 that we needed to incorporate economists into our competition law team to be able to meet the need from clients in defending their cases before the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority. This has proven to be a big success and out of 20 fee-earners in our team, we have four economists.
COMPETITION AUTHORITIES ARE BECOMING EVER MORE SOPHISTICATED. WHAT IMPACT DO YOU EXPECT THIS TO HAVE ON CLIENTS?
We see some frustration among clients in Denmark over the increasing work associated with competition cases pursued by the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority. With sophistication comes a responsibility to carefully screen for cases that have sufficient merit and those that should not be pursued.
In merger control cases we often hear frustration over the case-handling times, particularly the very long pre-notification consultations and extensive requests for information going far beyond what the notification form requires. The economic analyses are also often a black box to the companies – and many times even to their advisers.
AS MANAGING PARTNER OF THE FIRM, HOW DO YOU PLAN TO KEEP GORRISSEN FEDERSPIEL AT THE CUTTING EDGE OF DANISH COMPETITION LAW?
We have the strongest team and the team is fully supportive of my new management role. Furthermore, there is a tradition within the firm that you keep practising while taking managerial positions. A 50/50 split adds up to more than 100. Furthermore, as a managing partner who is specialised in complex merger control cases, I hope to be able to generate even more work, given all the relevant decision-makers I meet in my role. Thus, I am confident we will come out even stronger than ever.
WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT TO DATE?
My three wonderful daughters. Coming second, I guess it would be having grown the competition law practice of Gorrissen Federspiel, from four fee-earners to the largest and strongest group in Denmark with 20 fee-earners.