The brand new edition of The Legal 500 Deutschland HAS NOW LAUNCHED. View the 2015 rankings here. Die brandneue Ausgabe von The Legal 500 Deutschland ist JETZT ONLINE. Die aktuellen Rankings (2015) finden Sie hier.
The rankings currently on www.legal500.com/c/germany are from The Legal 500 EMEA 2014, which was published in April 2014 and was a condensed translation and update of research from The Legal 500 Deutschland. The English-language content will be updated in March 2015.
Legal market overview
The German legal market has seen the emergence of a number of parallel trends. Bank lending work has been dominated by refinancing of loans due in 2014/15 or after, while the market for mid-cap transactions has been remarkably robust and has been coupled with an overall increase of larger transactions. However, such transactions are now significantly more complex. Deals above a certain size are commonly executed as mixed loan and bond deals, posing new challenges even for specialised lawyers. All this is taking place in an overall environment of increased regulations – among them the Capital Requirements Directive IV (CRD IV), European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) and the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) – significantly increasing the workload in particular for investment fund experts.
Capital markets work has continued to grow since the icebreaker IPOs of Talanx and Telefónica in 2012; the total placement value on the Frankfurt stock exchange exceeded €3.6bn in 2013, more than 50% higher than the previous year. Debt work remains strong too, but very few firms have specialist high-yield expertise. The takeover market has seen an influx of private equity money and fierce competition for suitable targets.
Patent lawyers are positive that the long-awaited and discussed Unified Patent Court (UPC) will finally become reality and signs are indeed positive. In recent years, patent litigators have mostly seen large disputes in the mobile phone sector but 2014 has brought a spike in medical devices and automotive sector cases. Trade mark lawyers note the increased importance of the registered design as a protective tool.
Dispute resolution specialists have felt the increased banking sector regulation, leading to a spike in financial services disputes which now not only include investor suits but also extend to litigation between financial institutions. Manager liability and D&O matters remain a major source of work for litigators, while increased regulation by the competition authorities has increased the oversight and the likelihood of antitrust disputes. In particular, multi-jurisdictional transactions are now being closely scrutinised by the authorities and co-operation between European competition authorities has led to a large number of cross-border investigations.
The legal market is populated by a mix of high-quality German law firms and many international firms, particularly US or UK originated entities.
The following text is a condensed translation and update of research from the German-language edition, The Legal 500 Deutschland.
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