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Germany > Dispute resolution > Financial services litigation > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Dispute resolution: financial services litigation
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Rupert Bellinghausen - Linklaters
    • Christian Duve - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
    • Markus Meier - Hengeler Mueller
    • Stefan Rützel - Gleiss Lutz

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Jan Erik Windthorst - Allen & Overy LLP

Who Represents Who

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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is best know for its cross-border capabilities and for handling large-scale instructions. Christian Duve has been representing a major international bank against an internationally operating company in a derivative dispute for alleged faulty advice provided on swap agreements. In conjunction with the corporate and finance departments, the team also advised several creditors of the former Hypo Alpe-Adria Bank International on the debt relief granted by the Austrian state of Carinthia and the Republic of Austria in 2016. In arbitration, the team represented the State General Reserve Fund of Oman (SGRF) against the state of Bulgaria in ICSID proceedings. The dispute resulted from actions taken by the Bulgarian central bank which led to the collapse of the Corporate Commercial Bank (CCB), Bulgaria’s fourth largest bank, rendering SGRF’s stake in CCB worthless. Norbert Nolte is another key figure of the team.

Praised for its ‘strong practical sense’, the ‘excellent’ team at Hengeler Mueller stands out for its expertise in capital markets disputes and has a strong profile for class actions. Recently, ‘very experienced litigator’ Markus Meier acted for Morgan Stanley in prospectus liability claims brought by approximately 400 investors concerning the open-ended property fund P2 Value, while Peter Heckel represented Deutsche Bank in a class action on the prospectus liability of Deutsche Telekom. Philipp Hanfland defended the same client against claims made in conjunction with the takeover bid for Deutsche Postbank, while the bank J. Safra Sarasin continues to receive assistance with matters pertaining to the sale of Cum-Ex products including the defence against investor claims and the assertion of insurance law compensation claims. Carsten van de Sande’s defence of a German financial institution against several investor claims for index-based financial products in Germany and Austria is equally noteworthy. Johanna Wirth is recommended.

Linklaters represents national and international banks in civil claims for damages, the assertion of loan repayment claims and D&O liability proceedings and defends them against claims for alleged miscounselling. Rupert Bellinghausen heads the team, which includes recently promoted partner Christian Schmitt.

Allen & Overy LLP demonstrates ‘deep business understanding’ and is recognised for its capabilities in relation to tax law. Wolf Bussian, who ‘is able to familiarise himself with complex matters remarkably well’, advised the National Bank of Canada on its role as an indirect shareholder of the German Maple Bank, which was investigated by tax authorities for alleged tax evasion. In other work, the team deals with disputes arising from tax assessments of security loans, financial and derivative transactions, tax refund claims and foreign currency receivables alongside prospectus liability claims. Daniel Busse is a key member of the team along with recently promoted partner Jan Erik Windthorst.

Clifford Chance represents German and international financial industry clients in financial, capital markets and liability proceedings and puts emphasis on internal investigations and increasingly on D&O disputes including insurance matters. In co-operation with the corporate team, Tim Schreiber continues to act for BayernLB in damage claims that arose from the acquisition of structured products. The team also represented Sparkasse KölnBonn against the city of Bonn in court proceedings concerning the assertion of a municipal guarantee following the failed financing of the World Conference Centre Bonn. Burkhard Schneider heads the team, which includes recently promoted counsel Oliver Seyd. Heiko Heppner moved to Dentons and Stefan Kirsten left the firm to found Kirsten. Risk & Disputes.

As well as its large banking client base, Gleiss Lutz also handles frequent instructions from private equity firms, hedge funds and asset managers. Stefan Rützel continues to represent HETA Asset Resolution in 11 separate civil court cases against a large number of institutional bondholders and their repayment claims totalling €2.3bn. In other work, Andrea Leufgen acted for the same client in a pay-back dispute with BayernLB amounting to €7bn.

The ‘very good litigation and banking law firmSernetz • Schäfer provides ‘an excellent service level’ and utilises its banking, investment and regulatory expertise to represent clients in individual proceedings, class actions and test cases. Ferdinand Kruis has been representing several regional building societies in proceedings pertaining to mass terminations of building loan contracts. In other work, ‘excellent litigator and outstanding lawyer with business know-how’ Andreas Höder, who ‘does not lack the necessary toughness’, and Fabian Dietz-Vellmer represented Deutsche Pfandbriefbank (formerly known as Hypo Real Estate) in damage claim proceedings against former board members, while the team also assisted the same client in a capital markets dispute over supposedly false ad-hoc announcements. Manfred Wolf is an ‘experienced and assertive negotiator’.

Frequently acting on the defence side, Latham & Watkins LLP represents a broad client base, including banks, investors, shareholders and insurance companies. Highlights included Christoph Baus’ representation of Clerical Medical Investment Group, a subsidiary of Lloyds Banking Group, in a number of lawsuits alleging miscounselling, and Markus Rieder’s representation of a major European bank in several appeal and appraisal proceedings filed in Germany and Austria following a merger and related restructuring. In co-operation with the firm’s New York office, he has also been assisting Deutsche Bank with investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice. Volker Schäfer and Christine Gärtner are recommended.

Acting for a number of well-known clients including Deutsche Bank and Sal. Oppenheim, Noerr has been representing the former financial institution in capital markets proceedings concerning alleged prospectus errors of the real estate fund IVG EuroSelect 14 (The Gherkin) with Hans Christian Kirchner, Kolja Dörrscheidt and team head Michael Molitoris in the lead. The latter bank instructed Stefan Blum to act in several defence proceedings against claims for damages brought by a number of investors for alleged erroneous investment advice related to the so-called Oppenheim-Esch funds.

White & Case LLP’s instructions by financial institutions are frequently insurance-related, as is Christian Wirth’s defence of a financial institution against claims for damages amounting to millions of euros, resulting from a co-operation agreement with an insurance company under a life insurance package. In a separate matter, Markus Langen acted for several German banks in their role as bondholders in a dispute with HETA Asset Management, the Austrian financial market supervisory authority (FMA) and the state of Carinthia over the winding-up of a European financial institution. Sonja Lang is a key member of the team.

Specialised in banking and capitals markets law, boutique Clouth & Partner excels at defending against liability claims pertaining to interest rate swaps and other derivative transactions. In this regard, name partner Peter Clouth and Peter Lindt represented Deutsche Bank in proceedings against the city of Pforzheim, which suffered large losses through swap transactions and subsequently filed a claim for damages based on insufficient information on such transactions.

Kantenwein Zimmermann Fox Kröck & Partner frequently represents shareholders and funds alongside national and international banks in the enforcement of claims such as damage claims for breaches of contracts, among other matters. Marcus van Bevern, Annett Kuhli and Alexander Kröck are the main contacts.

In conjunction with the banking team, Mayer Brown LLP’s dispute resolution practice represents a number of high-profile clients, including financial investors, national and international financial institutions, in actions for annulment, bearer bond disputes and contentious matters arising from comfort letters. Mark Hilgard heads the team, which includes Jan Kraayvanger.

The ‘extremely competent’ team at Waldeck Rechtsanwälte PartmbB stands out for its ‘sound, pragmatic and solution-oriented approach’ and is particularly active in defending against class actions, most notably in connection with capital markets law. This expertise was recently utilised in the representation of a major bank in two capital markets proceedings, while other highlights included defending a number of credit institutes against claims for damages for Cum-Ex transactions, and defending Commerzbank and comdirect bank against claims filed for irregularities in the global certificate held on a corporate bond. The latter two clients also instructed the team to assert claims for damages from mass counterfeit bank card fraud. Clients single out Marcus Blankenheim and the ‘reliable, goal-oriented and competent’ Christian Faßbender.

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