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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 and M&A: Corporate
  2. Corporate and shareholder disputes
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Hans-Christoph Ihrig - Allen & Overy LLP
    • Jochem Reichert - SZA Schilling, Zutt & Anschütz Rechtsanwalts AG
    • Maximilian Schiessl - Hengeler Mueller
    • Hans-Ulrich Wilsing - Linklaters

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer regularly acts on medium and large cap transactions, which also keep the corporate group busy. A high-profile example is advising Midea on the successful $5bn public takeover of KUKA. In addition, the range of services includes matters concerning stock corporations and partnerships, reorganisations and corporate liability, while the creation of corporate governance and compliance structures is becoming increasingly important. A highlight was assisting Marenave with a pre-insolvency financial and operational restructuring. An example for the establishment and conversion of numerous SEs is advising UBS on the merger of large parts of its European asset management business into UBS Europe SE. Dieselgate-related settlement agreements made for Volkswagen continued to make headlines. Matthias-Gabriel Kremer leads the group, in which Thomas Bücker and Christoph Seibt are also recommended. Lars Meyer and Simon Schwarz made partner in May 2017.

Recognised as a ‘market leader’, Hengeler Mueller handles numerous court proceedings and stands out for its advice on corporate structures. A highlight in this area was advising RWE on a comprehensive carve-out by bundling the renewable energy, grid and infrastructure segment with the sales business to enable the IPO; the instruction, which was led by Hartwin Bungert, included 60 intragroup mergers, spin-offs, changes in legal form, buy-ins and divestments. After already advising Metro on the spin-off of its wholesale business the client now retained the firm for assistance with the founding of the joint venture RTG Retail Trade Group with five other trading companies to bundle central functional areas. Porsche is a long-term client of Gerd Sassenrath and Markus Meier, who assist it in both contentious and non-contentious corporate matters. Key figures of the strikingly large team are also the Düsseldorf-based Andreas Austmann, Rainer Krause and Maximilan Schiessl and the Munich-based Jochen Vetter and Simon Patrick Link. In Frankfurt, Lucina Berger made partner in early 2017.

One of the market leaders for corporate work is Linklaters; the firm advises executives, members of supervisory boards and large corporations on strategic issues. For example, the executive boards of Porsche and Volkswagen, which retained the firm for assistance with the handling of the Dieselgate scandal, are part of the client portfolio. Next to day-to-day commercial advice, the group regularly assists clients such as Bayer and Bilfinger with annual general meetings. An example for currently frequently sought-after form-changing conversions into an SE is advising Hello Fresh on this matter. Other high-profile instructions were carried out for E.ON, Deutsche Bank and the Funke Mediengruppe. The practice is co-led by the Düsseldorf-based Hans-Ulrich Wilsing and Ralph Wollburg, with Staffan Illert another recommended partner. Dirk Horcher, who made partner in May 2017, moved from the Frankfurt to the Munich office. However, Nikolaos Paschos left the firm in August 2017 to join Latham & Watkins LLP.

Hans Schoneweg leads Allen & Overy LLP’s corporate practice, which is particularly recommended for compliance and corporate governance advice. An example is advising Rheinmetall on the remuneration of the management board and assisting an air traffic management company with the introduction of a corporate governance structure. Instructions concerning annual general meetings are handled for Deutsche Telekom, SAP and Deutsche Bank. The latter client retained Hans Diekmann, who also advised a listed energy company on the spin-off of its parent company. Also based in Düsseldorf, Murad Daghles joined the partnership in May 2017. Michael Ulmer left for Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP in September 2016 and Michael Bernhardt left the group two months later to join Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP. Both departures were in the Frankfurt office, where former King & Wood Mallesons partner Michiel Huizinga joined and the ‘swift, pragmatic and extremely good’ Sven Prüfer is recommended.

Traditionally, the ‘solution- and service-focused’ corporate group at CMS mainly acts for mid-market companies, however it has strategically been expanding its client base to include large, international corporations such as eBay and Telefónica. Most recently, it acted on corporate structure, SE form-changing conversions and joint ventures next to some public takeovers and compliance mandates; in this area, assisting Audi and Volkswagen with the Dieselgate scandal was particularly prominent. Another highlight was advising Volkswagen Truck & Bus on entering into a cooperation with commercial vehicle manufacturer Navistar, which includes joint purchasing and technology development. On this matter, Hilke Herchen led advice; she co-leads the group together with Maximilian Grub and Ernst-Markus Schuberth. Harald Potinecke is recommended for corporate compliance, Martin Kuhn for group law and restructuring and Malte Bruhns is ‘not only an outstanding corporate lawyer, but also very commercially minded’. Thomas Sonnenberg joined the team from an in-house position at Triton in August 2016, while Tobias Grau and Christoph Lächler made partner in early 2017.

Clifford Chance achieves ‘high-quality results’ in restructurings, reorganisations and sales, as well as in cross-border mergers, especially advising financial institutions. The group handled some contentious work, such as when representing BNP Paribas in the squeeze-out procedure at DAB Bank. Examples for assisting joint ventures are advising Coca-Cola with a collaborative IT project and advising EQT on EQT Infrastructure’s entering into a strategic partnership with Getec Energie Holding for the further development of some companies. In May 2017, Japan expert Thomas Stohlmeier retired, while Frederik Mühl and Gunnar Sachs made partner. Anselm Raddatz, who is particularly recommended for energy sector work, co-leads the group together with the ‘highly professional and proactive’ Thomas Krecek, who specialises in advising banks and insurance companies.

By forming ‘small and extremely high-performing core teams’, Gleiss Lutz offers an ‘excellent price-performance ratio’. The group gives ‘highly precise yet solution-oriented’ advice on the full range of corporate law: Clients such as Gelita, Infineon Technologies, Merck, Puma and TUI retain the group for advice on annual general meetings, Bosch and Merz Pharma are advised on compliance matters and restructuring work was undertaken for KION Group . Other instructions include Fred Wendt’s assistance of TUI with the formation of a joint holiday airline with Etihad and Michael Arnold’s advice of the supervisory boards of Volkswagen and Audi on the handling of the diesel issue. Handling contentious work is another pillar of the practice. Christian Cascante and Gabriele Roßkopf co-lead the group, which also includes Martin Schockenhoff, Eike Bicker and ‘brilliant lawyer’ Cornelius Götze.

With ‘swift and accurate replies’ and a ‘familiarity with the industry and the business model’, Hogan Lovells International LLP provides clients with a ‘very pleasant cooperation’. Through the sheer number of corporate law partners, the firm has a strong focus in numerous sectors. For example, practice head Lutz Angerer is particularly regarded in the life sciences sector, while Christoph Louven specialises in the insurance sector. Energy sector expert Matthias Hirschmann advised EnBW on founding a joint venture with Siemens Financial Services and DEME Concessions for the participation in a tender process for offshore wind farm Kriegers Flak. Other highlights included assisting Vibracoustic with the conversion into a stock corporation in preparation for its IPO and representing Media-Saturn-Holding in a shareholder dispute concerning the interpretation of the shareholders’ agreement. In addition, restructurings and annual general meetings kept the group occupied. The ‘always availableMichael Rose and Peter Huber, who made partner in early 2017 and is described as ‘analytically very strong and technically excellent’, are also recommended.

Appreciated by clients for providing ‘comprehensive advice’, Latham & Watkins LLP is particularly appreciated for corporate work with an international element. It covers a broad range of topics and has specific expertise in the areas of trade, energy and health. A current automotive sector highlight was advising Daimler on a joint venture investment in Toll Collect. The group also assisted specialty chemicals company H&R with changing its legal form from a public limited company (AG) to a partnership limited by shares (KGaA) and advised ArcelorMittal on the restructuring of its steel production and processing business. Another highlight was acting for the family shareholders of ARAG Lebensversicherung concerning the carve-out of significant assets to ARAG SE. This matter was led by Martin Neuhaus, who co-leads the group together with Henning Schneider. It also includes Harald Selzner, Rainer Wilke and newly appointed partner Nils Röver. Wilhelm Reinhardt and some other partners from different practices left the group in July 2016 to open Gibson Dunn’s Frankfurt office.

By offering ‘in-depth legal knowledge’, a ‘strong partner participation’ and ‘excellent strategic advice’, Noerr establishes close relationships with clients. The corporate law group is increasingly active in corporate liability matters and has recently handled numerous conversions, such as Hello Fresh’s change of legal form into an SE. The ‘creative’ and ‘solution-oriented’ Christian Pleister led advice on this matter as well as on the client’s extraordinary general assembly; he and Alexander Hirsch are ‘ver y well versed in international business’. Other 2016 highlights are advising trivago on the corporate reorganisation in connection with the client’s IPO and assessing the Commerzbank executive board’s liability for penalties incurred in the US. Team changes include the arrival of Volker Land with his team from White & Case LLP in April 2017 and the promotion of Sophia Habbe to equity partner and of Katrin Andrä and Sebastian Schürer to associated partners in the beginning of 2017.

Based in Frankfurt and Mannheim, SZA Schilling, Zutt & Anschütz Rechtsanwalts AG’s group offers ‘very useful solutions’ of an ‘excellent quality’ for clients such as dm-drogerie markt, Südzucker and Vossloh. Deutsche Bahn’s supervisory board retained the group concerning the Stuttgart 21 railway and urban development project. On the contentious side, it represented Volkswagen in numerous claims for damages of investors and the associated investor sample process law proceedings due to possible violations of disclosure obligations pertaining to the dieselgate scandal. With the addition of of counsel Theodor Baums, the Frankfurt-based group enhanced its corporate governance capabilities in July 2017. In Mannheim, the ‘pragmatic’ Peter Bauschatz joined the team from McDermott Will & Emery Rechtsanwälte Steuerberater LLP in July 2016. Stefan Zeyher, who has been with the firm since the beginning of his career, made partner in January 2017. Stephan Harbarth is regarded as ‘reliable and always available’.

White & Case LLP acts ‘swiftly and gets to the heart of things’ when ‘looking for solutions that are not only well-founded legally, but also feasible from a business point of view’. The firm is a popular choice for corporate law disputes and internal investigations, as well as for matters at the interface to capital markets law. Advising members of management and supervisory boards is a prominent area of work, as evidenced by advising the supervisory board of GfK on the voluntary public takeover bid by Acceleration Capital. Practice head Lutz Krämer led advice on this matter, which was facilitated by a close cooperation with the capital markets group. Also based in Frankfurt, Markus Hauptmann, Robert Weber and ‘excellent negotiator’ Roger Kiem are recommended. Volker Land and his team left for Noerr in April 2017.

Arqis Rechtsanwälte’s ‘highly experienced’ advisors are ‘very business and cost oriented’ when developing ‘individual, client-centered solutions’. The corporate practice sets standards when advising executive and supervisory board members. For example, Christoph von Einem led advice to Audi’s supervisory board on the separation from former director of technical development Stefan Knirsch and Volkswagen’s management board from the former legal and integrity director Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt. The latter board also retained the group for advice on the restructuring of the remuneration of the management and supervisory boards as well as on Dieselgate issues. The group also frequently acts on contentious issues, for example when advising Opterra on various corporate law disputes such as declaratory actions concerning the termination of supply contracts and disputes over control in a joint venture company. Next to offices in Munich and Düsseldorf, the firm also has a Tokyo office and a Japan desk, which is used when advising Docomo Digital and numerous Japanese clients with German subsidiaries. Team changes include the departure of Cosima Preiss, who left to become general counsel at Oerlikon in February 2017, and the arrival of Lars Laeger, who joined from Clifford Chance in July 2016. He is based in Düsseldorf, as are the also recommended Andreas Dietl and Christof Schneider.

Baker McKenzie has a ‘very high level of expertise’ in corporate compliance, an area in which the firm recently handled corporate law matters for a German client. In general, the firm’s cross-border capabilities are an excellent selling point for clients. An example is cooperating with colleagues in Chicago, London, Vienna and Luxembourg when advising McDonald’s on the restructuring of German and several foreign groups. As such, the client portfolio includes both renowned German groups and various multinationals such as Amazon, the DFL German Football League, HOCHTIEF and Johnson Controls. The group is led by Andreas Lohner and Nikolaus Reinhuber and also includes Christoph Wolf.

DLA Piper is particularly rated for its restructuring and reorganisation expertise, both at a German and an international level. A recent example is advising H.I.G. European Capital Partners on the corporate reorganisation of its German and Luxembourg fund structure. The group also handled D&O liability, cross-border changes of legal form and compliance matters, and was able to expand its insurance sector work. Nils Krause is the sole practice head since Kirsten Girnth’s departure to Bryan Cave LLP in January 2017. Simultaneously, Michael Burg left for PwC Legal (PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal AG Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft) and Jan Schinköth for Sidley Austin LLP. However, the group was strengthened by the addition of Mathias Schulze-Steinen, Andreas Füchsel and Claudius Paul, who came from K&L Gates LLP.

Unparalleled in terms of quality’, Düsseldorf-based corporate and antitrust boutique firm Glade Michel Wirtz - Corporate & Competition fields 15 lawyers specialised in handling annual general meetings, management consultancy, contentious cases and day-to-day corporate advice. Marco Sustmann and Andreas Merkner represented Daimler in a model proceeding regarding the allegedly late publication of Jürgen Schrempp’s resignation as CEO; and assisted the Deutsche Bank supervisory board with ongoing supervisory law proceedings. Merkner and Achim Glade assisted Haniel with founding a joint venture between CWS-Boco and Rentokil Initial, with the client holding 82% of the joint venture’s shares. Arndt Michel is another name to note for corporate advice. The client base also includes Bose, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia’s golf association, Klöckner & Co, L'Oréal and ZF Friedrichshafen.

Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek’s ‘swift processing times’ impress medium-sized companies, which make up the majority of the firm’s client base. Its breadth of practice can be illustrated with just a few instructions: It converted Datagroup from a public limited company (AG) to an SE, acted on the annual general meeting of Elanix Biotechnologies and advised the Duisburg port on founding a joint venture with Arkas Container Transport for the construction and operation of a bimodal container terminal in Turkey. Another highlight was assisting wholesale company for building hardware VBH with the implementation of a merger-related squeeze-out and subsequent change of legal form. Numerous partners such as Mathias Schröder, Helge-Torsten Wöhlert and Stefan Duhnkrack – to only mention a few – have corporate law expertise. Also recommended is the ‘remarkable’ Karsten Kühne, while Volker Holl left the group in late 2016. At the beginning of 2017, Fabian Gaffron and Stephan Degen joined the partnership.

In the transactional area, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP has long been an established player; traditional corporate law advice is increasingly gaining importance. In this area, acting for managing and supervisory boards is paramount. Norbert Rieger regularly assists the management boards of Axel Springer, FC Bayern Munich and Sixt, while Christoph Rothenfußer advised Sixt Leasing on changing its legal form to an SE and the related extraordinary general assembly. Both are based in Munich, as is Ulrike Friese-Dormann, who represented clients in court proceedings concerning the squeeze-out of minority shareholders. An example is assisting Gentherm with the squeeze-out of W.E.T. Automotive Systems. The Frankfurt-based Arndt Stengel advised Metro on the planned division of the group and assisted Airbus Defense and Space with reorganisation matters.

Technically excellent’, ‘transparent’, ‘proactive’ and ‘highly committed’, Taylor Wessing’s corporate practice, which is spread over all five of the firm’s offices, acts on reorganisations, domination and commercial contracts, charter amendments, mergers and spin-offs. Rating agency Scope retained the group for its change of legal form from a public limited company (AG) to a partnership limited by shares (KGaA). Another important area of business is post-transactional support, particularly in relation to China. The practice is made up of partners from antitrust, M&A, dispute resolution and related areas, and recently re-inforced its finance capabilities. Klaus Grossmann, Dirk Lorenz and Christoph Vaupel are among the key figures, with Christian Traichel and

Lars-Gerrit Lüßmann also recommended. The group saw some departures: Thomas Dörmer and Tim Heitling left for Baker McKenzie and Heinrich Stallknecht retired.

Ashurst LLP mainly advises executives and supervisory boards of German companies and subsidiaries of international groups on corporate housekeeping, corporate reorganisation and corporate governance. Reinhard Eyring played an instrumental role in assisting with the annual general meetings of AVIC, Alno and Biotest, and regularly assists the latter client with board and supervisory board matters. The ‘experienced’ Thomas Sacher advised Adidas on the integration of a newly acquired subsidiary and represented Grammer concerning the defence against a call for an extraordinary general assembly. Another instruction handled by Sacher was advising new client Babcock International on the establishment of a German subsidiary. Private equity expert Holger Ebersberger, who frequently assisted clients with corporate governance and corporate restructuring matters, joined the group from Linklaters in June 2016.

Providing ‘excellent advice’, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP acts for clients such as ArcelorMittal, Kohler, Mercer International and Media-Saturn-Holding. Transaction-related advice is of particular importance for the group; for example, Oliver Schröder assisted Westlake Chemical with the post-acquisition integration of Vinnolit, which included cash pool issues. In another highlight, he was responsible for advising Furukawa Electric on founding a joint venture with a subsidiary of Superior Essex for the production, marketing and sale of novel high-voltage cables. An example on the contentious side is representing Agfa-Gevaert in an ICC arbitration. Michael Ulmer, who previously worked at Allen & Overy LLP, joined the group in November 2016.

Mid-sized companies are core clients of Eversheds Sutherland’s corporate group, which mainly acts on annual general meetings, restructurings and the establishment of joint ventures. A recent highlight was advising automotive supplier Autoliv on founding a joint venture with Volvo Cars for the development of autonomous driving and driver assistance system software. Boeing is a regular client, with recent instructions including restructurings and compliance matters. The ‘very thorough, committed and persistentSven Schweneke led advice on this matter; he and practice head Matthias Heisse are based in Munich. In May 2016, the Berlin-based Christian Hilpert and the Munich-based

Christian Mense made partner.

Greenfort offers clients a ‘pleasant cooperation’ when acting on stock corporation law and law pertaining to private limited companies and private partnerships. The Frankfurt team was particularly active advising young companies and assisting with founding joint ventures. The 1. FC Kaiserslautern’s annual general meeting was one of many the group handled in 2016, while the client’s supervisory board and board of directors as well as the association itself are regular clients of the group. Other clients include ayondo, investment bank Houlihan Lokey and Skrill. Within the five-strong group, Andreas von Oppen is ‘quick, easy to reach and friendly’. He is recommended along with Gunther Weiss and Daniel Röder, who also handles dispute resolution next to corporate law issues.

Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH sets itself apart with a clear focus on advising family businesses and public sector clients, while also counting larger listed companies such as Evonic and groups such as E.ON and Vattenfall as clients. Traditionally, assisting with corporate succession is a significant area of work, which has now gained importance due to the inheritance tax reform. The networking of traditional family businesses with start-ups also became more prominent. Recent examples are advising a large German energy supplier on the restructuring of all of the client’s German distribution network operators; and assisting Amiantit with establishing a joint venture with HOBAS for the development, production and sale of pipes in Europe. The last-mentioned instruction was handled by Klaus Schaffner, who is recommended next to Arndt Begemann and head of the India desk Thomas Weidlich. Cédric Müller made partner in December 2016. The firm also has a notable notary practice.

Norton Rose Fulbright provides ‘reliable advice’ on corporate governance and compliance matters as well as mergers, reorganisations and charter amendments. The group also recently handled some changes of the legal form from a public limited company (AG) to an SE; for example, Sumitomo Electric Bordnetze was advised on the change of legal form to an SE, which also included handling a dispute concerning the legal status. From Munich, Frankfurt and Hamburg respectively, Klaus Bader, Frank Regelin and Klaus von Gierke lead the practice, which also includes Eva-Maria Barbosa and Andreas Börner, who are recommended for their insurance expertise. A ten-strong team led by Alexander von Bergwelt, Michael Malterer and Igsaan Varachia left the firm in July 2016 to join Dentons, after the firm already saw Sascha Grimm’s departure to an in-house post in May 2016. In February 2017, Patrick Narr and team joined from White & Case LLP. Partner promotions include Katrin Stieß and Peter Holst in May 2016 and Heiko Bertelmann in May 2017.

Oppenländer Rechtsanwälte’s six partner-strong corporate group develops ‘targeted strategies with excellent expertise and strong commitment’. Particularly recommended are the ‘extremely efficient, strategic and solution-oriented’ Rolf Leinekugel, who is an ‘experienced consultant with a strong entrepreneurial mindset’, and Thomas Trölitzsch. The Stuttgart-based team represents numerous mid-sized, family-owned businesses from southern Germany, but also some large companies such as an automotive supplier and a consulting firm as well as international companies. Since 2016, the group is advising CINETIC, which develops and sells media technology, as main shareholder concerning the squeeze-out of Atevia. On the contentious side, representing Gelita’s board members in a claim for damages brought by special representative Norbert Knüppel and representing the Schwörer group in a shareholder dispute were prominent highlights.

The ‘outstanding’ group at traditional German corporate law firm Sernetz • Schäfer acts for companies as well as numerous large and regional banks, which means it often deals with banking supervisory law. An area of focus is commercial disputes, particularly D&O liability – an area in which the group also handled some arbitration proceedings recently. Other work examples are representing a former member of the management board of a DAX-listed company in litigation regarding the possible misconduct of the management board with billions of Euros in damages; representing a large company in the defence of claims due to compliance-relevant circumstances; and representing investment company Sparta in a stock corporate law dispute concerning the investment in Strabag. In Düsseldorf, Frank Schäfer and Andreas Gätsch are recommended, while the Munich-based Fabian Dietz-Vellmer has an ‘intuitive understanding of a client’s needs’ and Andreas Höder handles ‘difficult cases with the necessary severity’.

Continuously being retained for larger transactions also creates a heavy workload, particularly in the post-closing phase, for Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s corporate group. Otherwise, it frequently covers corporate governance matters and day-to-day commercial matters; clients in this area are aircraft components manufacturer FACC, SGL Carbon, Zumtobel and the supervisory board of Stada Arzneimittel. Another example is advising the board of a German association on fraud allegations against the former chairman. Another area of work is handling contentious issues such as representing a steelmaker in an ICC arbitration regarding recourse claims in connection with the spin-off and re-integration of parts of companies. In Munich, practice head Bernd Mayer is recommended.

avocado rechtsanwälte offers its clients, which include many family-owned companies, an ‘excellent service’ when advising on day-to-day corporate matters. The group plays an important role in numerous transactions, frequently acts at the intersection of commercial and distribution law and regularly advises foreign companies on entering the German market. For example, it assisted French menswear studio Atelier with founding and structuring a German subsidiary. Adyton Real Estate retained the group, next to ongoing corporate work, for founding a joint venture for the operation of a clinic. Christian Berger, who played a key role in both instructions, works ‘quickly, reliably and competently’ and is recommended next to Udo Zietsch. Jürgen Heilbock, who specialises in advising stock companies, joined the group from Schalast & Partner Rechtsanwälte in April 2017. In August 2017, Lars-Henning Behrens came from HWW Hermann Wienberg Wilhelm and now also supports the corporate law notary. While all mentioned partners are based in Frankfurt, the firm also has corporate expertise in Berlin and Cologne.

Bird & Bird’s corporate group advises clients in close collaboration with colleagues from other practice groups such as antitrust, labour, IP and IT. In 2016 and 2017, corporate housekeeping instructions, in addition to some reorganisations, were on the group’s agenda. For example, the group advised ENTRADE Energiesysteme on its annual general meeting of 2016 and on corporate governance matters, next to ongoing corporate advice. On the contentious side, the group represented a company in a case concerning shareholder meetings. In the technology and media sector in particular, the practice has a strong network and a broad client base. New clients include Forward Engineering, a specialist in lightweight construction for the automotive and machinery industries, Menzies Aviation and TomTom. Peter Veranneman leads the group from Düsseldorf, where Stefan Gottgetreu is also recommended. In Frankfurt, Kai Kerger made partner in May 2017.

Buse Heberer Fromm regularly works in the field of mechanical engineering and the supplier and sales industry. For example, the group advised Maurer, a steel, mechanical and plant engineering sector company, on its double change of legal form from a GmbH & Co. KG through an AG into an SE. Another instruction was advising the management of an energy trader on the diverging interests concerning the management, accounting and profit distribution of two 50% shareholders. An example of advice rendered to a foreign company is acting for the Belgian B Logistics (now Lineas) concerning the founding of a new German subsidiary. From Hamburg, Jossip Hesse leads the group, which also includes the recommended Düsseldorf-based Wolfgang Großmann and Christian Quack. The group saw three external additions at partner level: Peter Fissenewert joined in October 2016 from HWW Hermann Wienberg Wilhelm, Thomas Hausbeck came from Kairos in November 2016 and Alexander Wolf joined from Kestler Mielert & Partner in March 2017. Internally, Heinrich Schmitz was promoted to partner.

Flick Gocke Schaumburg has a wealth of experience in restructurings and changes in legal form as well as in advising family businesses on the full range of services. Equally frequently, the group acts on group law matters, for example when preparing an expert opinion for an international energy supply company concerning the investment in another supply company. It advises numerous banks on corporate governance matters, such as Volksbank Bonn Rhein-Sieg on creating a new corporate governance framework in view of the merger with Volksbank Köln. Other clients include Knorr-Bremse, Fränkische Rohrwerke Gebr. Kirchner and Vattenfall. In January 2017, Florian Haus made partner and Benjamin Ullrich associated partner, while Stefan Simon left to join the supervisory board of Deutsche Bank. Simultaneously, Martin Brockhausen joined from King & Wood Mallesons and Thilo Richter, Christoph Sieberg and Roman Stenzel from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Recommended for their long-term experience are Christoph Schulte, Dieter Leuering and Michael Erkens.

Fielding a large corporate group in the export-friendly state of Baden-Württemberg, Friedrich Graf von Westphalen & Partner acts for numerous international mid-sized companies. The Freiburg-based Gerhard Manz ‘always has practicable and quick-to-implement solutions at hand’ and has ‘strong knowledge of the French language and culture’. He assisted Haufe-Lexware with two joint venture companies for the Haufe group’s activities in China. Albert Schröder regularly handles restructurings and recently represented Maquet Medical Systems in a case against originally 72 shareholders of Pulsion Medical Systems in relation with the conclusion of a domination and profit transfer agreement. Barbara Mayer has a ‘broad knowledge’ of stock corporation law and medical technology expert Jan Henning Martens made partner. In addition to Freiburg, the firm also has corporate teams in Cologne, under the leadership of Tobias Lenz and Arnt Göppert, and in Frankfurt.

GSK Stockmann often collaborates with other practice groups such as supervisory law, tax, real estate and finance when handling corporate issues. A highlight was advising Colliers International on the merger of five German subsidiaries into the Deutschland Holding. Adler Real Estate retained the group for the cross-border change of legal form into a GmbH of a Dutch subsidiary to Germany. Lead advisor was Max Wilmanns, who took over the practice lead from Michael Stobbe in November 2016. Another internal change was Raoul Kreide’s promotion to local partner in the beginning of 2017. Additions include Thomas Derlin’s move from K&L Gates LLP in June 2016 and Katy Ritzmann’s move from FPS in January 2017. However, Matthias Dau left the firm in August 2016 to join Dr Mittelstein & Partner. Hendrik Riedel’s unfortunate death in late 2016 was another loss for the group.

Yorick Ruland leads Görg Partnerschaft von Rechtsanwälten mbB’s ‘determined and always well coordinated’ corporate group, which is spread over five offices. Since his move from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in November 2016, Oliver von Rosenberg forms part of the Cologne team, which also includes Wolfgang König and Michael Dolfen. Recommended partners in other offices are Thomas Winkemann in Berlin, Matthias Menke in Frankfurt and Frank Evers in Hamburg. The ongoing assistance of mid-sized companies is an important part of the firm’s work; the assistance in annual general meetings, for example for Medigene, also forms part of the group’s the daily business. On the contentious side, it represented EN+ Group and CEAC Holdings in post-merger arbitration proceedings against the state of Montenegro concerning the investment in aluminium plant KAP located in the country. Other clients include Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Trusted Shops and Aspen Pumps.

Herbert Smith Freehills Germany LLP’s ‘pragmatic’ team is equally active in contentious and non-contentious corporate matters. Nico Abel has led the practice since May 2017 and advised manufacturer of electromechanical drive technologies and power transmission components Altra Industrial Motion on restructuring measures, including transforming Stromag AG into a limited liability company and changing the corporate governance structures of various companies in order to integrate the Stromag business into the German Altra group. Other clients include plastic processor profine and debtor management service provider Euler Hermes. In Frankfurt, Markus Lauer is recommended alongside Abel, while Sönke Becker is one of the names to note in the Düsseldorf office.

Düsseldorf-based full-service firm Hoffmann Liebs Fritsch & Partner Rechtsanwälte mbB mainly acts for mid-sized companies concerning restructuring as well as limited liability and group law matters. Handling succession planning for family-owned companies and acting for start-ups are two further pillars of the practice. The predominantly German clients include consulting firm Agora Invest, KFM Deutsche Mittelstand and medical aid manufacturer Definitiv. The latter client is regularly advised on its ongoing business, most recently on the restructuring of the circle of shareholders, a capital increase and the possible set-up of a joint venture with a Chinese company. As this example shows, instructions often have an international aspect and foreign companies are also increasingly relying on the team. It grew in August 2016 with the addition of Andreas Hecker from Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH and now includes 13 partners. Raoul Mosel and Norbert Bröcker are recommended.

Full-service firm K&L Gates LLP has an excellent reputation for corporate law issues, especially in relation to stock corporation and capital markets law. Printing press manufacturer Koenig & Bauer is a new client, which the group advises on day-to-day corporate law issues and on annual general meetings. Other clients include Bundesdruckerei, several companies of the EDF Group, OpenSynergy and Wittur. Now nine partners strong, Thomas Lappe’s group includes Boris Kläsener and Klaus Banke, who is ‘extremely precise’ and has a ‘very good understanding of economic background’. From late 2016 to early 2017 the group saw several changes: Alexander Kollmorgen came from WilmerHale, Franz Schaefer from King & Wood Mallesons and Thilo Winkeler from Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP. However, the Frankfurt-based team led by Mathias Schulze-Steinen, Andreas Füchsel and Claudius Paul left for DLA Piper, and Thomas Derlin joined GSK Stockmann.

McDermott Will & Emery Rechtsanwälte Steuerberater LLP is primarily known for handling transactions, but is also well positioned to handle corporate law matters. For example, the group assisted IT service provider Fiducia & GAD IT with the spin-off of a business unit to Ratiodata. EHealth company CompuGroup Medical is another client which retained the group for advice on stock corporation law, its annual general meeting and the change of legal form from a public limited company (AG) to an SE. Christian von Sydow, Norbert Schulte and Stephan Rau are based in Düsseldorf, while the group also has corporate law capabilities in Munich and Frankfurt. Anja von Alemann left for an in-house position at Sana Kliniken in September 2017. Philipp Grenzebach made partner in early 2018.

Stuttgart firm Menold Bezler’s 13 corporate law partners provide ‘solid legal work’ concerning the formation of subsidiaries, advice on corporate structure and on changes of legal structure. For example, the group assisted Ritter Gruppe, a provider of regenerative heating systems, with centralising company locations and simplifying corporate structures. Another example for advice on structural matters is advising TTS Tooltechnic Systems on the restructuring of a subgroup in preparation for the sale of an investment. Another important pillar of the practice is handling annual general meetings, for example on behalf of property management company Dinkelacker. Name partner Rudolf Bezler and Hansjörg Frenz are recommended along with Beatrice Fabry, who primarily advises public sector companies.

Oppenhoff & Partner is highly regarded for ‘short processing times, strong technical expertise, pragmatic solutions and a high level of performance’. In collaboration with colleagues from the labour and insolvency departments, the corporate group assisted Ford-Werke with two contractual trust arrangement structures to other groups. KSB, a manufacturer of pumps and valves, was advised on changing its legal form from a listed public limited company (AG) to a partnership limited by shares (KGaA), with the general partner a monistic SE, as well as on the annual general meeting. Both matters were led by practice head Harald Gesell, who is ‘client oriented and has a high level of specialist expertise’. Other instructions include the establishment of a limited liability company’s branches and subsidiaries in various countries, the restructuring of a corporate governance structure, and matters related to management board liability. Day-to-day corporate advice rendered to NH Hotel Group is handled by Stephan König, to IPS Pressevertrieb by Alf Baars and to Vaillant by Myriam Schilling. While mainly based in Cologne, the group also has corporate capabilities in Frankfurt; here, Oliver Kessler left in July 2016 to join Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences.

From its Düsseldorf office, the ‘client orientedOrth Kluth Rechtsanwälte acts on the full range of corporate law, including corporate housekeeping, changes of legal form, compliance and shareholder disputes. In 2016, the group advised crane trader Terex MHPS on the restructuring of the German groups in preparation for the group’s sale to Kone Cranes; and assisted long-term client engineering company Meyer Burger with corporate law matters. Robert Orth advised electric vehicle company Faraday Future on the development of its business activities in Germany and Marc Henze assisted Dematic, provider of integrated automation technology, software and services for supply chain management, with intra-group restructurings. Also recommended are Kai-Michael König and Tim Christian Giesselmann, who made partner in early 2017.

Swift and professionalP+P Pöllath + Partners frequently acts on matters related to tax law, for example when handling succession and wealth planning. As well as family-owned businesses, it also regularly advises large corporations, start-ups and private equity funds. Practice head Wolfgang Grobecker conducted a responsibility audit on behalf of Deutsche Bank regarding potential compliance violations by former members of the executive board. Eva Nase advised the Giesecke & Devrient group on adjusting its group-wide corporate governance structure during a restructuring operation. Representing clients in corporate disputes is also part of the group’s day-to-day work. For example, it represented Wacker Neuson and a subsidiary in arbitration concerning a joint venture and acted for HeidelbergCapital in proceedings brought by former minority shareholders of Nextevolution concerning the review of cash compensation from a stock coporation squeeze-out.

Hamburg-based corporate law firm Raschke | von Knobelsdorff | Heiser advises a broad range of German (family-owned) companies and international corporations on all corporate law matters. The five-partner group is particularly recommended for its extensive expertise handling contentious issues: Gilbert Tassilo von Knobelsdorff was appointed arbitrator in a post-M&A dispute between a listed software company and the company it had acquired. In another proceeding, he represented Thielert in prospectus liability litigation against the management board, supervisory board, syndicate bank and auditor. Dominik Ziegenhahn also frequently handles contentious matters, while Nico Torka mainly acts on non-contentious work. For example, he regularly advises Vapiano on concluding joint ventures and on its annual general meetings.

Able to handle work from across the full range of corporate law matters, von Boetticher Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaftsgesellschaft mbB focuses on assisting medium-sized companies active at an international level with restructurings and limited liability law matters as well as on transaction-related litigation and arbitration. Current highlights include advising a German real estate company on the restructuring of the group, assisting several US-based IT companies with founding German subsidiaries, and representing a power plant operator in a shareholder dispute. The group has many long-term clients such as 3B Pharmaceuticals, Humedics and laser manufacturer Lumenis, which retain the group for day-to-day corporate law matters. In Munich, Stephan Rettenbeck, Jens Horstkotte and Martina Sunde are recommended, while Ulrich Block is a respected lawyer in the Berlin office.

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