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Germany > Employment > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Employment
  2. Other recommended firms
  3. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Georg Annuß - Linklaters
    • Christian Arnold - Gleiss Lutz
    • Björn Gaul - CMS
    • Burkard Göpfert - Baker McKenzie
    • Klaus-Stefan Hohenstatt - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
    • Michael Kliemt - Kliemt & Vollstädt
    • Hans-Peter Löw - Allen & Overy LLP
    • Stefan Lunk - Latham & Watkins LLP
    • Thomas Ubber - Allen & Overy LLP
    • Heinz Josef Willemsen - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
    • Gerlind Wisskirchen - CMS

Who Represents Who

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CMS’ broad employment team is ‘quick and precise’, ‘including in phases with higher workloads’. It has expertise in remuneration issues and company pensions, and new clients include Mondi and Volkswagen, the latter of which required compliance advice in the context of the emissions scandal. It also acted for Aurelius on the personnel aspects of the acquisition of Coats Group’s European manual work division. Oliver Simon and Eckhard Schmid lead the practice, in which Björn Gaul, Gerlind Wisskirchen, Barbara Bittmann and ‘broad thinker’ Thomas Glaesmann are also recommended. Carsten Domke was promoted to partner and Alexandra Otto returned to the firm after a year at Noerr.

Gleiss Lutz has been described as ‘a shining beacon in employment law’. It advises key clients such as Bosch, BASF and Deutsche Börse. Christian Arnold represented TUI in landmark proceedings regarding the compatibility of the German Co-Determination Act with EU law and advised Deutsche Pfandbriefbank on the restructuring of the remuneration system for the entire personnel. Steffen Krieger handled employment issues in connection with Deutsche Telekom’s sale of its online platform, t-online. Thomas Winzer and Doris-Maria Schuster lead the practice, in which Stefan Lingemann and Martin Diller are also recommended.

A success story’, Kliemt & Vollstädt is by far the largest employment boutique in Germany. It advises large and mid-sized companies across various industries, as well as executive-level employees. It is a member of international law firm network Ius Laboris, which frequently leads to mandates with a cross-border element. Clients include Lufthansa, Bayer and Deutsche Bahn. The team also advised Santander Bank on the reorganisation of its branch structure. Firm founders Michael Kliemt and Oliver Vollstädt are well regarded, as are Barbara Reinhard and ‘pleasant negotiator’ Alexaner Ulrich. The team has been strengthened considerably at associate level, while Doris Kilg was promoted to partner. Corinna Verhoek joined vangard.

Allen & Overy LLP has ‘unparalleled experience in labour disputes and collective bargaining’; the team is noted for its ‘friendly and goal-oriented communication’. It also has expertise in compliance, company pension schemes and restructurings and acts for clients such as SAP, Allianz and Deutsche Bahn. The renowned Thomas Ubber, who has ‘outstanding legal knowledge’, and counsel Bettina Scharff represented Deutsche Lufthansa in tariff disputes with the German Cockpit Association and the cabin crew unions in order to avoid strike action. Markulf Behrendt is ‘experienced and client-oriented’. Tobias Neufeld took over as head of the global employment group from Hans-Peter Löw, who continues to lead the German practice.

Baker McKenzie’s employment practice consists of ‘great people’ and ‘strong partners’, who advise on restructurings and transactions, as well as handling matters pertaining to staff costs, company pension schemes and data protection. The ‘very good’ Burkard Göpfert advised Unisys on a global restructuring and ThyssenKrupp sought advice regarding the harmonisation of work and assignment contracts in more than 30 countries. SAP and Alstom are other key clients. The ‘outstandingChristian Reichel heads the German practice together with Steffen Scheuer. Head of the global practice Günther Heckelmann is also well regarded.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s ‘outstanding employment lawyers’ focus on transactional matters, company pension schemes and employee data protection, frequently in an international context. Recent work includes representing Primark in tariff disputes with the union, ver.di, and acting for Funke Mediengruppe regarding the partial closure of newspaper printing facilities in Essen. Timon Grau is ‘extremely bright’ and practice head Boris Dzida and Thomas Müller-Bonanni are also recommended. Helmut Bergmann took over as regional managing partner for Germany from Klaus-Stefan Hohenstatt; Heinz Josef Willemsen is now of counsel.

Noerr’s ‘proactive’ and ‘well-versed specialists’ give ‘competent and pragmatic advice’ on employment law, primarily to mid-sized companies but also to large entities such as Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Telekom and BBC Worldwide. Recent work has focused on the deployment of external personnel, company pension schemes, restructurings and transactions. The firm advised Air Berlin on labour and data protection aspects of the introduction of a new computer reservation system. Practice head Andreas Butz is recommended for his ‘competence and availability’. Marco Tucci was promoted to partner, but Alexandra Otto returned to CMS.

Beiten Burkhardt provides ‘helpful and user-friendly advice’ on employment matters and has particular strengths in collective agreement law, company pension schemes and employee data protection. Publishing company Spiegel is a new client, which the team advised on staffing aspects of a forthcoming restructuring. Christopher Melms heads the practice, which includes healthcare sector expert Thomas Puffe, Wolfgang Lipinski and ‘strong communicator’ Thomas Barthel, who has ‘a confident attitude in negotiations’. Anne Praß and Christian Bitsch were promoted to salary partner.

Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek primarily advises mid-sized companies. A highlight was the representation of 1. FSV Mainz 05 in appeal proceedings against goalkeeper Heinz Müller surrounding time-limited footballer contracts. The team also acted for book retailer Hugendubel in several landmark proceedings at the Federal Labour Court. Christoph Hexel, Wilhelm Moll, Astrid Wellhöner and Andreas Walle are recommended. Johan-Michel Menke was promoted to partner.

Boutique Küttner gives ‘solution-oriented and clear advice’ and has experience in the technology, media and automotive industries, as well as transport, logistics, banking and insurance. It assisted Ford-Werke with the outsourcing of pension liabilities from the balance sheets to a newly created contractual trust arrangement. Thomas Niklas is ‘a strategic thinker’, while Silke Seeger is ‘competent and reacts quickly’. Karl-Dietmar Cohnen shows ‘flexibility and personal commitment’, newly promoted partner Benjamin Ittmannalways has workable solutions at hand’, and Tim Wißmann is also recommended.

With its ‘high service level’ and ‘strong business sense’, Latham & Watkins LLP is a recognised player in employment law, notably in restructuring-related matters. It also handles a growing number of standalone employment mandates, particularly regarding compliance, company pension schemes and advice to executive-level employees. It assisted Sandoz Industrial Products with employment matters related to the planned closure of its site in Frankfurt-Höchst. The international client portfolio also includes Dow Chemical, Novartis and Swiss Re. Claudia Heins and the ‘well-versedStefan Lunk lead the practice.

Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH is ‘well positioned’ to advise on restructurings, often in an insolvency context, but also has experience in labour disputes, such as representing Charité in injunction proceedings regarding strike action and the enforcement of damage claims against ver.di. It advised Deutsche Bahn on the reconciliation of interests and several social plans in connection with the discontinuation of the night rail services. Other key clients include Amazon, TUIfly and Axel Springer. Practice head Axel Braun and Robert von Steinau-Steinrück are recommended.

Proactive and unbureaucratic’ boutique vangard, a member of Littler Global (an initiative of US law firm Littler Mendelson, P.C.), has grown rapidly since its establishment in 2013 and is noted for its ‘direct and uncomplicated communication’. It advised Merck subsidiary Allergopharma in the context of a restructuring and assisted CinemaxX with a new company collective agreement. Other clients include Alstom, AOL and Walmart. Sebastian Maiß ‘can explain complex issues to non-lawyers’; Matthias Kast has ‘resolute negotiation skills’; Thomas Griebe is ‘a good mediator’; and Matthias Sandmaier is ‘pragmatic and practical’. Frauke Biester-Junker is also recommended. Corinna Verhoek joined from Kliemt & Vollstädt and Dennis Lüers was hired from Taylor Wessing.

DLA Piper is ‘primarily visible in international matters’ and the client portfolio includes numerous multinational corporations. Sector strengths lie in retail, technology, automobile manufacture, pharmaceuticals and biosciences. Recent work includes representing H&M in various conciliation boards with works councils regarding risk assessments, working hours and benefits. Jens Kirchner and Marco Arteaga have expertise in company pension schemes and counsel Eva Einfeldt ‘provides good, quick and reliable advice’. Kai Bodenstedt heads the practice.

Highly specialised’ boutique Greenfort provides ‘pragmatic solutions’ and is ‘recommended for exceptionally complex cases’. The client base has a bent towards banking, pharmaceuticals and chemicals, and the service sector. The firm represented Goodyear Dunlop in landmark proceedings at the Federal Labour Court regarding the consideration of agency workers at supervisory board elections in companies hiring temporary workers. ING-DiBa is also a regular client. Jens-Wilhelm Oberwinter gives ‘high-quality’ advice and Mark Lembke has ‘profound expertise’.

Hogan Lovells International LLP places ‘great emphasis on client orientation’; the team has ‘a strong business sense and is reliable even during high workloads’. Expertise includes advising insurers, financial service providers and clients in the energy and healthcare sectors. Recent work includes advising The Federal Ministry of Defence on the employment aspects of the takeover of LH Bundeswehr. Practice head Kerstin Neighbour and newly promoted partner Tim Gero Joppich are ‘pragmatic’; Hendrik Kornbichler and Tim Wybitul are also recommended.

Hannover-based employment boutique Laborius primarily advises mid-sized companies and executive-level employees. Key clients include Bahlsen, KONE and Expert. The team also advised Silgan White Cap on a mass dismissal and acted for the former executive of fashion company New Yorker in complex proceedings related to an extraordinary termination. Rhea-Christina Klagges is recommended.

Linklaters is ‘outstanding’, particularly in advising international and large German corporations on transaction-related employment law. It also advises banks, insurers and investment firms. Matthew Devey, who regularly acts for Fortress Investment Group and Morgan Stanley, also recently advised Genting Hong Kong on the purchase of several shipyards. Other clients include Bayer, Novartis and Huawei Technologies. Georg Annuß is ‘solution-oriented’ and ‘combines deep expertise with high intelligence’.

Clients are ‘totally satisfied’ with boutique Pusch Wahlig Legal and applaud the team’s philosophy, which is described as ‘there is no such thing as impossible’. Clients include Metro Group, Imperial Tobacco and Dussmann. The firm opened an office in Frankfurt in 2016, from where the team is led by Dirk Freihube, who joined from Arnecke Sibeth, and also includes Holger Thomas, former head of employment law at WilmerHale, and counsel Eva Wißler, who was hired from ebl factum rechtsanwälte. In Berlin, Kara Preedy and Jochen Keilich are ‘excellent negotiators’, Britta Alscher has ‘broad expertise’ and Thomas Wahlig is ‘very reliable’; Falko Daub was promoted to partner.

Schweibert Leßmann & Partner has ‘comparable expertise to a large firm, with all the benefits of a boutique’. With ‘sound know-how and a pronounced service orientation’, it advises large corporations, mid-sized companies and executive-level employees, with recent work having a strong focus on restructuring mandates. The team also represented WISAG Airport Service Berlin in disputes arising from the company’s closure in Berlin. Rüdiger Hopfe provides ‘outstanding professional support’, Ulrike Schweibert is noted for her ‘pragmatism, communication and negotiation skills’, and Nicole Engesser Means, Ulla Rupp and Jochen Leßmann are also recommended.

Cologne-based Seitz Rechtsanwälte Steuerberater provides ‘excellent practice-oriented cooperation’ and ‘broad expertise’. It advises key clients such as Karstadt, Bayer and Osram. The team acted for Roche in the spin-off of its diabetes care division and represented new client Huawei during multiple labour proceedings. Practice head Stefan Seitz is ‘active and smart’, and Joachim Trebeck ‘answers even complex queries promptly and transparently’; Stefan von Broich, Marc Werner and the ‘brilliant’ Thomas Kania are also recommended.

Employment boutique T/S/C Fachanwälte für Arbeitsrecht places a focus on corporate restructurings and has expertise in industrial constitution law, company pension schemes and advice to executive-level employees, including executive-level liability proceedings; the firm recently represented several trader groups in the automotive sector. Other clients include E-Plus and RWE. Susanne Clemenz and Johannes Schipp are recommended.

Taylor Wessing provides ‘diligent and efficient advice’ and ‘personal support usually ascribed to firms in the mid-sized segment’. It stands out particularly for transaction-related employment matters and has been assisting DaVita with various transactions. The team has also been advising Goethe Institute on employment law relating to foreign teaching staff. Practice head Marc André Gimmy and Kilian Friemel are recommended, along with Sascha Grosjean, who has ‘expertise in company pension schemes’. Sebastian Buder ‘acts cleverly, both in and out of court’.

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Legal Developments in Germany for Employment

Legal Developments in Germany

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • LAG Düsseldorf: Dismissal with immediate effect valid in response to threat

    Anyone who seriously threatens their employer or superior should expect to be dismissed with immediate effect. This was confirmed by a ruling of the Landesarbeitsgericht (LAG) Düsseldorf [Regional Labour Court of Düsseldorf] from June 8, 2017 (Az.: 11 Sa 823/16).
  • Tax evasion: Only voluntary disclosure affords protection from severe penalties

    Anyone who has been caught for tax evasion should expect to be faced with severe penalties. Voluntary disclosure is the only way of returning to a state of normal tax affairs and avoiding penalties.
  • GSK Update: AIFM Marketing in Germany - The clock is ticking for U.S. and other non-EU fund managers

    Our GSK Update informs about the impact of recent German investment fund legislation (UCITS V Implementation Act) for AIF managers, who are not domiciled in the EU (“non-EU-AIFM”) and who seek to market AIF shares in Germany in accordance with applicable German investment fund law under the EU-AIFM Directive (2011/61/EU).
  • GSK expands Luxembourg presence with a new tax partner

    Opened at the beginning of March 2016, GSK Stockmann + Kollegen continues to expand its Luxembourg office. Mathilde Ostertag recently joined the Luxembourg team of Equity Partners Dr. Marcus Peter, Andreas Heinzmann and Dr. Philipp Mößner as Local Tax Partner.
  • EIA - Strengthening the role of the public

    Among other things, the recent amendment to the Environmental Impact Assessment Act has broadened the rights of (what is termed) the "affected public". The affected public consists primarily of various citizens' initiatives pursuing environmental or public-health purposes. It may for instance file an appeal against a negative decision at the screening stage (i.e., a decision according to which the given project does not require the issuance of an EIA report), and seek its annulment in court. The affected public has been granted a stronger voice also in subsequent procedures in which the fate of a building project is being decided: zoning proceedings and the proceedings on the issuance of a building permit. Taken together, these legislative changes may make it more difficult to implement projects which require an EIA report; in particular, the length of permission proceedings may be substantially extended.
  • New Top Level Domains – Noerr expert warns against trademark infringements

    On June 13, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) published the names of those who have applied for a new top level domain the ending of which may be geographic, such as "munich", industry identification such as "insurance" and even all trademark names and company descriptions such as "canon" and "adidas".
    - Noerr
  • No obligation to set up filtering systems in order to prevent copyright violations

    ECJ, decision of February 16th, 2012, ref. C-360/10 – SABAM
  • Further ECJ Ruling concerning NGO’s right of action under German environmental law

    For the second time within a short period of time, the non-governmental organisations right to challenge administrative decisions under German law is going to be subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). In January 2012, the German Supreme Administrative Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht) referred a case to the ECJ for a preliminary ruling concerning the NGO’s right of action.
  • Lessons in Cross-Border M & A Transactions

    The fundamental advice for international business transactions is obvious and easy to understand: different countries have different laws, business habits and cultures. These differences may range from minor nuances, such as lengthy French business lunches or unusual Spanish office hours, to significant legal roadblocks, such as strict European employment laws.
  • Priority rental rights in insolvency

    Parties to rental contracts for commercial premises often agree priority rental rights. In practice, this concept is used to cover a whole series of legal structures. These range from fixed options for the tenant to a promise made by the landlord as a business policy that if any additional premises become available, they will be offered to the tenant. In 2010 the Berlin Court of Appeal issued a ruling on such priority rental rights in insolvency; the decision has recently been published.

Press Releases in Germany

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to