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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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Germany > Corporate and M&A > Corporate > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Corporate
  2. Corporate and shareholder disputes
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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In early May 2018, Matthias-Gabriel Kremer took over the practice lead of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s 39-partner strong coporate practice from Wessel Heukamp. Christoph Seibt assisted Continental with the potential reorganisation of the group, while Thomas Bücker led advice to Delivery Hero on its conversion into an AG, the cross-border merger of a Dutch subsidiary and finally its conversion into an SE. The group also assisted Evotec, home24 and Xing with SE conversions. The breadth of practice becomes clear when looking at other instructions: it assisted an accounting firm with its restructuring; advised Axel Springer on the international roll-out of internal compliance guidelines; and, in cooperation with the conflict resolution team, handled several compliance investigations and court disputes resulting from transactions. Changes in the team include the partner appointments of Nicholas Günther and Markus Benzing in May 2018.

Hengeler Mueller’s 40-strong corporate law team is not only one of the largest and most stable in the market, but is also regarded as the ‘clear market leader’. A highlight was advising Metro on a group split including a carve-out. In other work, the group assisted numerous family-owned businesses with the ​​change of legal form and advised the parent company of a global technology group, which converted into a KGaA. Other areas of focus, in addition to advising on corporate structures, is assisting with annual general meetings for clients including innogy, Osram Licht, Porsche, United Internet and Linde. The group advised Linde on the question of whether the merger of equals agreement between Linde and Praxair should have been submitted to the general meeting for approval. This instruction was handled by Jochen Vetter, who works alongside the ‘highly esteemed’ and ‘very dedicated and exceptionally intelligentSimon Patrick Link in Munich. Daniela Favoccia is based in Frankfurt; Thomas Meurer, Maximilian Schiessl (one of the leading lawyers for board level and supervisory law consulting) and Andreas Austmann, who provides ‘practical and useful advice’, are key names in Dusseldorf.

Linklaters’ corporate group includes well over 120 lawyers, and acts for DAX 30 companies such as Bayer, Deutsche Bank, E.ON, Fresenius and Siemens. In addition to assisting large corporations, the group also regularly advises executives and supervisory boards. Tim Johannsen-Roth took over the practice group lead from Ralph Wollburg, who now co-heads the global group, in May 2018. The latter advises Volkswagen and Porsche on all matters relating to the diesel emissions scandal, board level reorganisation and the performance of the annual general meeting. Hans-Ulrich Wilsing assists with Daimler conversion issues and Staffan Illert is advising Deutsche Börse on its corporate restructuring. Stephan Oppenhoff and Kristina Klaaßen-Kaiser are also recommended. Rüdiger Thiele retired and Wilhelm Haarmann left in January 2019 to join McDermott Will & Emery Rechtsanwälte Steuerberater LLP.

Allen & Overy LLP is increasingly active in advising board and supervisory board members, and has many years of experience in handling shareholders’ meetings. In the latter area, it most recently worked for Axel Springer, Deutsche Telekom, Evonik Industries, Uniper and SAP. Other outstanding mandates include advising Volkswagen Financial Services on its reorganisation in eleven jurisdictions, and assisting Rheinmetall with issues relating to executive board remuneration and corporate governance. Hans Schoneweg heads the team of nearly 80 lawyers, which includes names such as Michiel Huizinga, Sven Prüfer and counsel Katharina Stüber. Hans Diekmann and Christian Eichner are particularly noted for advising listed companies on assessing breaches of duty and on disputes with board members. Hans-Christoph Ihrig left the group in August 2017 to co-found Mannheim-based boutique firm Ihrig & Anderson Rechtsanwälte.

Clifford Chance’s 14 corporate partners focus on pre- and post-transaction advice. In addition to handling numerous large financings and M&A transactions, the team also advises on company structures. In recent work, the group advised Grohe Beteiligungs on the complete takeover of Grohe AG by squeezing out the minority shareholders. The practice also assisted the Technical University of Munich with concluding an agreement with the non-profit Dieter Schwarz Stiftung for the foundation of 20 new professorships in economics with complete equipment and infrastructure. In Frankfurt, the group has particular expertise advising banks, with Thomas Krecek particularly noted in this area; he has ‘an almost limitless knowledge’ in the space and is ‘always available’. Markus Stephanblome joined the Frankfurt team in December 2017 from White & Case LLP. Frank Scholderer, who is also based in Frankfurt, is also noted. Dusseldorf-based Anselm Raddatz leads the group together with Krecek.

CMS’ clients receive ‘service-oriented’ advice on corporate law. The strategic expansion of the client portfolio, which formerly included mostly medium-sized companies, has resulted in a number of panel appointments, including that of E.ON. Numerous listed companies rely on the group and in recent work the group handled a compliance matter for a large company, one of many that the group is increasingly involved in. In addition to group law and supporting shareholders’ meetings, advice on company design is another core strength, with a recent focus on conversion matters. For example, the group advised VTB Bank on the formation of an SE by merging an Austrian AG with a German AG and a newly founded French company. Hilke Herchen, Maximilian Grub and Ernst-Markus Schuberth lead the team, which has members in all eight German offices. Renewable energy expert Carolin Armbruster, Igor Stenzel, who advises several Polish companies, and Tilman Weichert, who is frequently commissioned by listed companies, were promoted to the partnership at the start of 2018. Malte Bruhns has ‘a high economic understanding’, and is recommended alongside Martin Kuhn.

Retaining Gleiss Lutz for corporate law advice ‘eliminates the need for content checks and controls, as the client can rely one hundred percent on the team’s correctness and expediency’. The team composition is ‘excellent, especially in comparison to the other side, which often employs much larger teams’, and the advice is ‘clear and comprehensible’. Christian Cascante and Peter Steffen Carl jointly head the practice, which advises major international corporations, board members and supervisory boards (such as those of Volkswagen and Audi on diesel scandal issues) as well as owner-managed companies. For example, it assisted Ergo Gruppe with the restructuring of the group structure, and advised Kommunale Energie Beteiligungsgesellschaft Thüringen on the annual general meeting. Michael Arnold represents TUI in a landmark case discussing the compatibility of the German Codetermination Act with EU law. Fred Wendt, Gabriele Roßkopf and Martin Schockenhoff are also noted. Dirk Wasmann is ‘a brilliant, pragmatic and solution-oriented corporate lawyer’; Cornelius Götze has ‘excellent expertise’ and is ‘extremely reliable and thorough’. Urszula Nartowska left for Hogan Lovells International LLP and Tobias Harzenetter made partner in 2019.

The corporate law group at Hogan Lovells International LLPresponds personally to the concerns of its clients’ and offers ‘partnership-like cooperation at a high professional level’ as well as ‘continuous availability and responsive feedback’. Current mandates include advising Adva Optical Networking on the integration of MRV Communications, including various mergers and intra-group transfers, as well as on the restructuring of the Generali Group. The firm regularly advises on the establishment of joint ventures such as Daimler in the context of the bundling of on-demand mobility services. Michael Rose provides ‘practical answers, a pragmatic approach and pleasant cooperation’, and is recommended alongside Matthias Hirschmann and Peter Huber. Lutz Angerer heads the German practice, while Volker Geyrhalter took over responsibility for the Continental European group from Christoph Louven at the end of 2017. Hanns Jörg Herwig made partner at the beginning of 2018, while Michael Leistikow retired. Urszula Nartowska joined from Gleiss Lutz. Daniel Dehghanian and Alexander Koch made partner in 2019. Associate Philipp Weber joined FPS as associate partner.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s corporate law team frequently works with other practice groups such as tax, restructuring and white-collar crime. In recent work it is advising the executive board of Stada Arzneimittel on an internal investigation into possible violations of executive board duties by the previous management. Siemens, now also a major client in Europe, instructed the group with structural issues in the run-up to the IPO of its healthcare unit. It also advised Klöckner & Co on the performance of the annual general meeting; other clients include BayWa, Daimler, the DuMont Media Group and Tengelmann. Harald Selzner leads the group. Rainer Wilke and Martin Neuhaus are other key names and Natalie Daghles made partner at the beginning of 2018. Tobias Larisch joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Nikolaos Paschos from Linklaters. Björn-Axel Dißars moved to Watson Farley & Williams LLP.

Noerr’s corporate law team ‘combines legal excellence with a pragmatic and solution-oriented approach’. It provides ‘advice at short notice and always at a high-quality level’ and the ‘often very short-term requirements for deadlines are always met, usually even undercut’. As an established regular adviser to German corporations, the group is increasingly active in advising DAX 30 companies, and it has notable expertise in the creation of corporate governance and compliance structures. A highlight was assisting the Dieter Schwarz foundation with the financing of professorships and new infrastructure for the expansion of the Technical University of Munich to Heilbronn. The group also advised Kieser Training on the establishment of a joint venture with project developer Euro Sino Invest to enter the Chinese market. On the contentious side, it was involved in arbitration proceedings concerning post-M&A disputes, and represented a family foundation in a shareholder dispute. Christian Pleister ‘not only has very high expertise, but is also very committed’, Florian Becker is ‘a good negotiator’ and Ingo Theusinger provides ‘advice of the highest quality’. Alexander Hirsch, Volker Land and Marlies Raschke (who was promoted to the partnership at the beginning of 2018) are also recommended. Maurice Séché was made up to partner in early 2019.

The corporate lawyers at SZA Schilling, Zutt & Anschütz Rechtsanwalts AGnot only have excellent expertise, but are also goal and solution oriented’. The group has been assisting clients such as Daimler, Renolit and Südzucker for many years, primarily with complex issues such as restructuring and litigation. Highlights included advising the supervisory board of Deutsche Bahn on the Stuttgart 21 railway and urban development project. Other work examples include assisting with the annual general meetings of CropEnergies, euromicron and Fuchs Petrolub, and advising energy utility group EWR on its restructuring. Practice head Jochem Reichert is ‘a helpful sparring partner’, ‘very experienced’ and ‘steadying’; Thomas Liebscher is ‘assertive’; and Marc Löbbe is another key name. Stephan Harbarth is now vice president of the Federal Constitutional Court.

White & Case LLP’s ‘highly experienced’ team covers the full range of corporate law. It recently handled several extraordinary general meetings, such as that of 1&1 Drillisch in connection with the gradual acquisition of 1&1 Telecommunication from United Internet, at which no legal challenge was filed. In other work, it is advising market research institute GfK on take private and squeeze-out proceedings following the entry of financial investor KKR. Practice head Lutz Krämer is recommended for directors’ and officers’ liability cases. Other well-known names include Alexander Kiefner, Markus Hauptmann, Robert Weber and Roger Kiem. Markus Stephanblome left the firm in December 2017 to join Clifford Chance.

Baker McKenzie recently acted on numerous cross-border mergers, increasingly counts listed companies as clients, and is setting standards in compliance advice. A highlight was assisting Uniwheels with the conclusion of a domination and profit transfer agreement with the main shareholder Superior Industries International, including the preparation and execution of the extraordinary general meeting, and the delisting of the company. Other highlights include advising McDonald’s on its day-to-day business; assisting Karl Storz, a manufacturer of endoscopes, medical instruments and equipment, with its conversion into an SE & Co. KG; and acting for Daimler on the establishment of a European on-demand ride-sharing joint venture with start-up Via. Since Nikolaus Reinhuber took over the management of the global IT practice in July 2017, Christian Atzler now jointly heads the German corporate law group together with Andreas Lohner, who has been co-head of the practice group for many years. Björn Simon made partner in July 2018 and Christian Vocke is also an up-and-coming young partner.

DLA Piperhandles mandates in the agreed timeframe, provides transparent invoices’ and is able to draw on its large international network. The group has a strategic focus on expanding its client portfolio in the DAX/MDAX segment and in the area of large medium-sized companies; clients include BASF, Lufthansa, Siemens, Syngenta and Rolls-Royce Power Systems. The group advised on men’s fashion manufacturer Ahlers on its annual general meeting, where the conversion of the previous preference shares into ordinary shares was approved by a preference shareholders’ resolution. Practice head Nils Krause is responsible for China-related matters, while co-managing partner Benjamin Parameswaran maintains good relations with Indian companies. The firm recently reinforced its capital markets group. Kerstin Schnabel and Mathias Schulze-Steinen are noted; Carlos Robles y Zepf joined the partnership in May 2018.

Dusseldorf-based antitrust and corporate law boutique Glade Michel Wirtz - Corporate & Competition provides a service that is ‘unbeatable in terms of quality’, according to one client. Day-to-day work for the 16 lawyers includes advice on corporate structures, annual general meetings and on the establishment of joint ventures for clients such as Bose, Klöckner & Co, L’Oréal and ZF Friedrichshafen. The group advised Haniel on the formation of a joint venture between CWS-Boco and Rentokil Initial. On the contentious side, the team handled a shareholder dispute. In addition to name partners Achim Glade and Arndt Michel, Marco Sustmann and Andreas Merkner are also regarded as excellent advisers.

Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek covers the market nationally: Anne de Boer and Peter Ladwig provide ‘top consulting’ in Stuttgart, the ‘very good’ Karsten Kühne is based in Berlin and ‘strong lawyer’ Marc Scheunemann works from Dusseldorf. In Munich, Helge-Torsten Wöhlert is noted and in Hamburg, practice head Stefan Duhnkrack is a stand-out practitioner. Also in Hanburg, Tim Petermann made partner, while the Cologne office was strengthened by the addition of Andreas Lenz and a team from his own, now dissolved, law firm Corso. The group primarily advises medium-sized companies, for example it is assisting a family holding company with corporate governance issues. It assisted the De Raj Group with the corporate structuring under a new German holding company. Another core focus is representation in litigation proceedings, with a recent example being the composition of a listed company’s supervisory board.

Milbank is ‘excellent in every way: fast, precise and covers a broad range of matters’. This includes advice on corporate structuring (handled for Themis Beteiligungs-AG) and on the performance of shareholders’ meetings (for example the first ordinary shareholders’ meeting of Ceconomy after the spin-off of the company). Another highlight was advising H.I.G. Capital, as the main shareholder of IT systems and consulting firm Conet, on the squeeze-out of minority shareholders. Ulrike Friese-Dormann played a leading role here, and is recommended alongside Norbert Rieger and Christoph Rothenfußer. Steffen Oppenländer, who, in addition to handling transactions, assists family businesses with succession issues, joined the Munich team in September 2017 from Hengeler Mueller’s London office. The majority of the group’s 14 lawyers are based in Munich, while Arndt Stengel heads the Frankfurt practice.

In addition to handling corporate structurings, Taylor Wessing’s ‘proactive’ corporate group was particularly in demand for handling public takeovers. It increasingly acts for listed companies such as Panasonic, which it advised on the division of the European business into separate automotive and industrial divisions. Dirk Lorenz and Klaus Grossmann are on in-house counsels’ radars. Lars-Gerrit Lüßmann, who is well known for advising board members and supervisory boards, is ‘fast, competent, and masters complex’ matters. Michael Sinhart joined from Hogan Lovells International LLP in September 2017.

Arqis Rechtsanwälte provides ‘competent and practical advice’, with the group’s ‘wealth of experience and entrepreneurial understanding extending far beyond pure legal matters’. The corporate practice is particularly good at advising board members and supervisory boards, and at handling matters related to labour law; for example, it was particularly busy advising Volkswagen’s supervisory board on the restructuring of the board of management and supervisory board. The Japan Desk, which acts for numerous Japanese companies concerning their activities in Germany, also accounts for a significant proportion of the work. In addition to advising clients including Alloheim Senioren-Residenzen, Johnson Controls and Katjes International on an ongoing basis, the team assisted medical technology manufacturer Dynamify with setting up its subsidiary terraplasma medical. The ‘very service-oriented and pragmatic’ Mirjam Boche frequently represents insurance companies in D&O cases. Also recommended are Christoph von Einem, Andreas Dietl and Christof Schneider. Daniel Wied left for BDO Legal at the beginning of 2018. Former general counsel of Vonovia Thomas Görgemanns joined as of counsel at the beginning of 2019.

Ashurst LLP’s six-partner corporate group regularly advises on structural measures, shareholders’ meetings and matters at the interface of stock corporation and group law. In recent work, it assisted Biotest with board of directors and supervisory board matters as well as its annual general meeting, and advised DNick Holding on the change of legal form. Other clients include Babcock International, eyewear manufacturer Eschenbach and Stada. Reinhard Eyring and Thomas Sacher are recommended.

From Munich, six Dissmann Orth partners support small and medium-sized companies in all corporate law matters. The group is particularly experienced in handling annual general meetings, restructurings and litigation. A recent highlight was assisting a relatively new company with setting up a US subsidiary. Thomas Wieland, Armin Hergeth and Jochen Ettinger are particularly recommended.

Eversheds Sutherlandspeaks the language of the client’: the corporate law team ‘not only has extensive knowledge of the market and industry, but also knowledge of internal processes, mechanisms and particularities on the client side’. Highlights included advising Rockwell Collins on its reorganisation, and assisting Nordakademie with setting up a foundation. Sven Schweneke is ‘extremely pragmatic, very results oriented, and respects time constraints and resources’. Other names to note include Matthias Heisse, Christian Mense and Holger Holle, who was appointed partner in May 2018. In October 2018, Maximilian Findeisen joined the team from Mütze Korsch Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH.

Clients appreciate Greenfort’s ‘individual’ and ‘personal’ corporate law advice. Some – such as outplacement and staff reduction company v. Rundstedt & Partner, which retains the group when setting up joint ventures – benefitted from the ‘direct line to the partners’. The practice provides ongoing commercial advice on stock corporation, GmbH, partnership and group law to clients including CSL Behring, myphotobook and Skrill. For Andreas von Oppen and Daniel Röder, who is ‘always friendly and easy to reach’, ‘every client is the most important’. Carsten Angersbach ‘delivers excellent strategic proposals’, ‘does not get lost in details’ and ‘provides solution-oriented advice’. Gunther Weiss is the fourth partner in the team.

As advisoe to German family businesses, Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH has ‘good contacts with law firms in other countries’. The group advised AVW Immobilien, Deutsche Real Estate, IFA Hotel und Touristik and wind turbine manufacturer Nordex on annual general meetings; the Digital Business Group instructed it for its restructuring including contribution, non-cash capital increase, qualified share exchange and merger; and Konzept Gruppe, which manages energy framework agreements, retained the team for a change of legal form into a GmbH. Klaus Schaffner, Jörgen Tielmann and Thomas Weidlich are recommended. In July 2018, Guido Wenzel made partner and Michael Bormann joined from Simmons & Simmons.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s corporate law team is ‘easy to reach’ and provides ‘a very good service’. It distinguishes itself from other practices by providing ongoing commercial advice to numerous banks, financial institutions and fintech companies. Klaus Bader and Frank Regelin jointly head the team, in which Klaus von Gierke is also recommended. Benedikt Gillessen, who handles stock corporation law in addition to capital markets transactions, joined White & Case LLP in October.

In SERNETZ • SCHÄFER’s seven-partner strong group, ‘small teams and direct partner involvement provide for a smooth operational process and a good price performance ratio’. It is particularly recommended for providing advice on corporate matters with a banking supervisory law angle and for representing clients in litigation proceedings, particularly in relation to the liability of directors and officers. For example, it represented Sparta in a stock corporation law proceeding as well as in an appraisal proceeding to increase the compensation fixed for the squeeze-out under conversion law with regard to its participation in Strabag. In Dusseldorf, Frank Schäfer is a key name; in Munich, Andreas Höder and Fabian Dietz-Vellmer stand out. ‘Very good analyst’ Andreas Gätsch left to join FPS in January 2019.

At Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, six partners in the firm’s Munich and Frankfurt offices handle corporate law matters with a focus on post-transaction issues. Equally important is the advice provided to members of the board of management and managing directors. The group assists Daimler’s management board with corporate governance issues concerning the Diesel scandal. The Chinese-Austrian aircraft component manufacturer Facc also entrusted the team with corporate governance issues. Bernd Mayer heads the practice.

avocado rechtsanwälte’s ‘proposed solutions are pragmatic, easy to implement and easy to understand even for laypersons’; moreover, the ‘billing of services is very transparent’. Recently, the corporate practice advised on numerous changes of legal forms and on mergers. In one example, it assisted Ansys Germany, a provider of technical simulation solutions for product development, with the change of shareholders and subsequent merger of two subsidiaries into the German parent company. Ongoing corporate law advice is provided for Adyton Real Estate, Gleason Corporation and SMC, which manufactures pneumatic and electrical automation technology. The client portfolio also includes numerous owner-managed companies, which are advised by lawyers including Udo Zietsch and ‘very good adviser’ Christian Berger.

Bird & Bird is particularly recognised in the technology and media sector, with recent instructions including assisting Fujifilm Europe with internal reorganisation projects. However, the group is also working to develop other areas such as energy, life sciences and the automotive sector. Other work includes its advice to F.W. Hempel & Co. Erze und Metalle on its planned restructuring. Practice heads Peter Veranneman and Stefan Gottgetreu are based in Dusseldorf, while the team also has corporate law expertise in Frankfurt and Munich.

Buse Heberer Fromm advises numerous supply industry, trade, and mechanical and plant engineering companies on all corporate law issues. While it has a strong following among German SMEs, international companies such as Lineas and Subway International are also part of the client portfolio. Hamburg-based Jossip Hesse heads the practice, which also includes Wolfgang Großmann and Christian Quack in Dusseldorf and Peter Fissenewert in Berlin.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamiltonrequires little input to understand the client’s objectives’. The group is best known for providing post-transaction corporate advice, but is also experienced in handling changes of legal form and contentious cases. In the joint venture space, it advised Media-Saturn-Holding on the provision of an online service to retrieve current information on stock currently held at local retail outlets. Other clients include ArcelorMittal, Kohler and Mercer International. Michael Ulmer is ‘detail oriented’ and provides ‘practical advice’; Oliver Schröder and Gabriele Apfelbacher (who also handles capital market law) are other names to note. Hanno Sperlich has not worked as a lawyer since July 2017.

Flick Gocke Schaumburg frequently acts for long-term clients - often family businesses. Burgbad, EWE, Fränkische Rohrwerke Gebr. Kirchner and Vattenfall, for example, are long-standing clients. A significant part of the work is handling restructurings, where it has handled recent work for Gelsenwasser and VNG - Verbundnetz Gas. Michael Erkens and Stephan Göckeler jointly head the team. Finn Lubberich made partner at the beginning of 2018 and Christoph Schulte is another name to note.

Clients of Friedrich Graf von Westphalen & Partner appreciate the corporate group’s ‘fast turnaround times, comprehensive business acumen and very good industry knowledge’. Recent work includes providing extensive commercial advice to Verlag Herder, and assisting LeaseRad with revising its partnership agreement and with establishing a holding and a leasing company. On the contentious side, it represented Endress+Hauser in a case against 58 claimants of Analytik Jena concerning their squeeze-out. Managing partner Barbara Mayer is ‘pragmatic and goal oriented’ and Arnt Göppert is ‘a good negotiator’. Other key names in the team are Gerhard Manz, Albert Schröder and Tobias Lenz.

Görg Partnerschaft von Rechtsanwälten mbB’s range of advisory services includes directors’ liability disputes, structural measures, changes of legal form, joint ventures and general meetings. In recent highlights, it advised on general meetings for music service provider SendR and biotechnology company MorphoSys. A major part of the work consists of advising clients such as Ingersoll Rand, Medigene and sensor technology provider First Sensor on day-to-day matters. Dusseldorf-based Michael Dolfen and Alexander Kessler are recommended.

At GSK Stockmann, ‘the service is always worth its price’, the advice is ‘pleasantly uncomplicated’ and the cooperation between different departments is ‘remarkable’: ‘the work of different practice groups is presented as a cohesive team service’. In addition to assisting with annual general meetings and cross-border mergers, the group advises software company IVU Traffic Technologies on its corporate governance code, and is assisting real estate investment provider Real I.S. with the restructuring of group companies. Max Wilmanns’ team also includes Michael Stobbe and ‘creative, client-oriented and good negotiator’ Katy Ritzmann.

Herbert Smith Freehills Germany LLP works ‘with great initiative and anticipation’ on contentious and non-contentious corporate law issues. The group often acts on cross-border matters, for example it assisted Vonovia with its cross-border merger with Gagfah. Another highlight was advising Rewe Group on the merger of its business activities with Rewe Dortmund, the last legally independent regional cooperative of the group. Dusseldorf-based Sönke Becker has ‘foresight and sees the bigger picture’ with his strengths ‘fully utilised at an international level’. In Frankfurt, Nico Abel, managing partner since July 2018, and Markus Lauer are recommended.

Based in Dusseldorf, Hoffmann Liebs Fritsch & Partner Rechtsanwälte mbB provides ‘fast and well-founded initial consultation’ as well as ‘a very high level of expertise and rapid familiarisation with new topics’. Family-run, medium-sized companies make up the majority of the client portfolio, which includes names such as Agora Invest and DocCheck. The group advised technology and service company Technotrans on the change of legal form from an AG to an SE. Other instructions include restructurings, GmbH and group law issues as well as succession planning for family-run companies. Raoul Mosel and Norbert Bröcker are highly regarded.

K&L Gates LLP’s corporate law group has ‘a very good understanding of business matters’ and a particular strong suit in issues regarding both stock corporation and capital markets law. The group is currently expanding its offering for annual general meetings, an area in which Koenig & Bauer is a long-term client. Other clients include Bundesdruckerei and EDF Énergies Nouvelles. Thomas Lappe heads the team in which Martina Ortner made partner in March 2018. Boris Kläsener and Klaus Banke are also recommended.

McDermott Will & Emery Rechtsanwälte Steuerberater LLP has ‘a very well-coordinated team’ which, in addition to advising on transactions, also regularly handles changes in legal form and mergers. It recently advised the entire European portfolio of aircraft supplier TransDigm Group in this area. In other work, it handled various structural matters for CardProcess, a provider of cashless payment systems, and IT service provider Fiducia & GAD. Clemens Just, Michael Cziesla and Christian von Sydow, who has ‘a very good network locally and abroad’, are key names. Philipp Grenzebach made partner in January 2018. Wilhelm Haarmann joined the group in January 2019 from Linklaters.

The service level at Oppenhoff & Partner is ‘absolutely outstanding’. The corporate group has particular experience in the areas of corporate governance, board liability, general meetings and disputes between shareholders. In the joint venture space, it advised HDI Vertriebs AG on a project in the InsureTech area. The team assisted KSB, a manufacturer of pumps and valves, with the conversion of the AG into an SE & Co. KGaA. Since the opening of the Hamburg office in February 2018, the firm offers corporate law expertise in Northern Germany, in addition to Frankfurt and Cologne. The ‘client-oriented’ Harald Gesell and the ‘helpful, open-minded and experienced’ Axel Wenzel are recommended alongside Stephan König and Myriam Schilling.

The Stuttgart-based team of Oppenländer Rechtsanwälte shows ‘strong initiative’. The client base, which largely comprises medium-sized companies, appreciates the fact that the ‘teams are rather small in order not to let the costs get out of hand, but can be increased if necessary’. One highlight was assisting Azkoyen Vending with the exclusion of Primion Technology’s minority shareholders. The ‘experienced, committed and assertive’ Rolf Leinekugel is ‘a brilliant mind that you would want on your side rather than on the other’. He is recommended for shareholder disputes, while Thomas Trölitzsch usually advises board members and managing directors, and Felix Born ‘has a good overview’ of stock corporation law matters.

‘Competent and fast’, the eleven-lawyer team at Orth Kluth Rechtsanwälte advises on corporate law issues including reorganisations and directors’ liability proceedings. In recent work, the group advised Demag Cranes & Components on its day-to-day business, handled an internal group restructuring for baked goods manufacturer Lieken and assisted mechanical engineering company Meyer Burger with a squeeze-out. Robert Orth, Kai-Michael König and Marc Henze are particularly active.

Wolfgang Grobecker and Eva Nase are the key figures in P+P Pöllath + Partners’ corporate practice, which, in addition to providing transaction support, is particularly recommended for advice on commercial matters relating to tax law. Clients include numerous family-run companies and funds such as HeidelbergCapital, which it defended in a case in which former minority shareholders of nextevolution have sought to have the cash compensation from a squeeze-out under stock corporation law reviewed. In the non-contentious area, the team advises on corporate and group law for Data Modul, Nemetschek (a provider of software for architects, engineers and the construction industry) and Giesecke+Devrient.

Based in Hamburg, Raschke | von Knobelsdorff | Heiser advises German family businesses as well as foreign and international companies on corporate law issues, while representation in contentious cases is another core focus. In the non-contentious area, it advised SkyFuel on the long-term cooperation with power plant developer Aalborg CSP, and assisted moebel.de with preparing the annual general meeting. Gilbert Tassilo von Knobelsdorff and Dominik Ziegenhahn are highly recommended.

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