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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 > Media > Press and publishing > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Media: Press and publishing
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Stefan Engels - DLA Piper
    • Michael Fricke - CMS
    • Roger Mann - Damm & Mann
    • Matthias Prinz - Prinz, Neidhardt, Engelschall
    • Helge Reich - Schertz Bergmann Rechtsanwälte
    • Christian Schertz - Schertz Bergmann Rechtsanwälte
    • Stephanie Vendt - Nesselhauf Rechtsanwälte

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Dirk Dünnwald - Prinz, Neidhardt, Engelschall
    • Holger Nieland - Damm & Mann

Who Represents Who

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DLA Piper’s ‘very good’ press and publishing practice is primarily known in the German media landscape for providing comprehensive advice to prominent domestic TV channels, publishers and entertainment magazines, but also increasingly advises companies on crisis communication and in reactive press proceedings. In recent highlights recommended counsel Verena Haisch represented Pabel-Moewig Verlag and Freizeitwoche Verlag in numerous proceedings surrounding alleged fictional exclusive interviews in multiple publications belonging to the clients, and renowned practice head Stefan Engels acted for dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur in proceedings against the football player Hakan Çalhanoğlu regarding fundamental questions of victim protection in press law and for WeltN24 in publishing law proceedings against Björn Hocke in connection with a public contribution on Other clients regarding publishing law matters include Asklepios Kliniken, Deutsche Telekom, Samsung and Peek & Cloppenburg.

In press and publishing law Damm & Mann doubtlessly belongs to the leading firms advising the media sector, in part due to ‘outstanding press lawyer’ Roger Mann’s widely recognised expertise. The team, which also includes the well known Holger Nieland, acts both on the side of publishers and those affected by press coverage. It defended Handelsblatt against the action for an injunction and claim for damages by an IT distributor due to the alleged unlawful mention of the company in connection with investigation proceedings surrounding the so-called sales-tax-carousel and represented FAZ in summary proceedings against the political group Europe of Nations and Freedom to obtain a temporary order against the exclusion of a journalist from a press conference. It also defends Gruner + Jahr, Axel Springer and DuMont against an action by the photographer Kenneth Willardt, who on the basis of UK law is claiming damages for leaked photos of the singer Beyoncé. Other clients are Susanne Klatten in personality rights matters; SIXT in a defence against the action for an injunction and action for a licence fee by the chairperson of the German Train Drivers’ Union (GDL) Claus Weselsky in connection with advertisement by the client; and AIDA and Costa in copyright and press law matters.

Nesselhauf Rechtsanwälte remains a ‘first choice’ for advice on press law and freedom of speech and clients appreciate the ‘extremely quick response times, great business sense and phenomenal industry knowledge’. The ‘highly professional and engaged’ team is ‘recommended for all matters’ and has gained not only an outstanding reputation advising those affected by media coverage, including politicians, executives and well-known figures in the entertainment industry, but also companies, banks, public bodies and associations; the team’s expertise includes both preventative and reactive advice in press and freedom of speech matters and also crisis communication. Till Dunckel stands out for his ‘very high expertise and very good negotiation skills and lines of argument’ and is particularly recognised for his ‘very deep knowledge of legal matters arising from digitalisation’; Stephanie Vendt is considered ‘gutsy and prompt’.

With an explicit focus on advising those affected by media coverage Prinz, Neidhardt, Engelschall is ‘highly recommended for difficult and important cases’ and ‘fulfils the highest quality standards in this area’. The boutique, which ‘doubtlessly belongs to Germany’s leading firms’ for press law and freedom of speech matters, also impresses with ‘outstanding industry expertise, exemplary commitment and excellent results’. Besides numerous DAX30 companies, such as Volkswagen and SAP, the team also advises banks, insurance companies, hospitals, hotels and retail and industry corporations in press law proceedings. In 2017 it assisted Porsche, Signal Iduna and healthcare group Paracelsus at the proactive and reactive level and dealt with reporting on companies and top executives. Matthias Prinz and Dirk Dünnwald are noted for their ‘high sector and advisory expertise, assertiveness and great service level’ and the ‘conscientious and reliable’ Nina Lüssmann, who also leads the reputation management practice, is considered a ‘highly specialised expert’.

Schertz Bergmann Rechtsanwälte stands out for its ‘very quick, competent and entrepreneurially minded advice’, but also for its ‘uncomplicated collaboration on demand’ and ‘high rate of success’. The ‘excellent’ practice primarily dedicates itself to press law advice for prominent companies, associations and federations, including preventative measures in connection with press inquiries and reactive advice on crisis communication and in freedom of speech proceedings; recently the team surrounding the highly recognised Christian Schertz saw a particular increase in advising MDAX companies. Longstanding expertise also lies in the representation of entrepreneurial families, prominent figures and politicians and comprehensive advice to publishing and media companies. The ‘very responsive and experienced’ Helge Reich is a ‘good listener’ and has ‘great expertise and a good relationship with the relevant courts’.

CMS advises an impressive number of publishing and broadcasting companies and online providers on the entire spectrum of press law and freedom of speech, but is also sought out by presenters and prominent figures for crisis communication, in the case of false media coverage and regarding privacy matters. The team represented Norddeutschen Rundfunk (North German Broadcasting) in landmark proceedings concerning the procedure of dissemination requirements for parallel counterstatements on TV and the internet, assists Gruner + Jahr and the publisher Morgenpost with copyright, competition and freedom of speech matters, including freedom of speech proceedings, and also advises several ARD institutions on press law and freedom of speech. Practice head Michael Fricke is ‘a master of his trade’.

KNPZ Rechtsanwälte distinguishes itself from competitors in the press and publishing segment particularly due to the international orientation of its practice: With Gerald Neben in the lead, the team advises German and international publishing companies on the entire spectrum of matters relevant to the industry, but is especially well-versed in the areas of competition law, copyright and freedom of speech. The practice furthermore covers the digital transformation of the economy and advises media companies such as Bauer Media Group on digitalisation strategies. Expertise also lies in the representation of those affected by media coverage; here the team often acts for clients in the finance, real estate and healthcare sectors regarding crisis communication. The client portfolio also includes British publishing group Associated Newspaper, Axel Springer and BRAVO.

Also in press and freedom of speech matters Raue LLP’s clients benefit from the ‘first-class quality of the legal advice’ and can count not only on ‘very good industry expertise’ but also on the ‘always friendly manner’ of the two-partner strong and ‘outperforming’ team. It mainly acts for media and publishing companies and newspapers and regularly handles matters for longstanding client Axel Springer: In recent highlights it assisted BILD online in connection with a competition and copyright action against Focus Online regarding alleged copying of exclusive paid content and successfully represented Axel Springer and his BILD newspaper in freedom of speech proceedings at the Federal Court of Justice against German politicians. Buzzfeed and Bloomberg are also regular clients regarding freedom of speech matters. Expertise also lies in advice surrounding claims to information: The firm successfully represented the Federal Chancellary in proceedings at the higher administrative court Berlin-Brandenburg against a Tagesspiegel journalist, who demanded information about all interviews conducted by journalists with the client. Jan Hegemann has ‘excellent expertise, is calm and never acts at the last minute’ and ‘offers clients the required quantity of security and confidence needed to successfully endure existence-threatening proceedings’.

Redeker Sellner Dahs facilitates ‘collegial, uncomplicated cooperation’ and ‘exactly fulfills clients’ expectations’, including ‘comprehensive industry expertise’ and ‘very good availability’. The practice is highly regarded in the market and in 2017 acted for numerous companies and public authorities on the preventative level and concerning crisis communication, but also for private individuals with regards to privacy protection. The team regularly advises banks, universities and insurance companies on the entire spectrum of press law matters and different federal ministries, government agencies, ministers and politicians on press law and requests for information access. Another pillar of the practice lies in advising broadcasting services on press law and freedom of speech: A client is ZDF in media and criminal matters in connection with the Neo Magazin Royale edition from 31/03/2016 and the Böhmermann case against Erdoğan. Gernot Lehr leads the team, which also includes Tobias Würkert, who was promoted to counsel.

Media boutique SSB Söder Schwarz Berlinger Rechtsanwälte is particularly known for providing comprehensive advice to the Burda publishing house and various subsidiaries under the lead of the well regarded Stefan Söder. Expertise lies in press, licence and copyright matters, competition law and in transactions. The team also advises digital media platforms on press law and freedom of speech matters.

Press law boutique Höcker is ‘big enough to act effectively with a first-class team even in complex cases and small enough to ensure a personalised service and high quality standards’: With four partners and two counsel, who are all considered ‘quick, innovative and if needed pleasingly aggressive’, the team has an explicit focus on advising those affected by media coverage at both the preventative and reactive level: Recent and current highlights include representing the Turkish state president Erdoğan in press law proceedings against a chief executive at Axel Springer and a producer; assisting Frauke Petry in proceedings regarding a false report against; and regularly advising the political party AfD -Alternative für Deutschland in press and copyright matters. The team also acts for companies, such as Studimed and Dräxlmaier Group. Marcel Leeser is ‘clever, quick and strategically good’ and Ralf Höcker is recommended for his ‘expertise and service orientation’.

In the media and publishing sector Berlin-based firm Irle Moser acts both on the side of media companies and those affected by media coverage and advises prominent figures, domestic, predominantly mid-sized companies and various publishers on the entire spectrum of freedom of speech. Ben Irle represented Swiss book publisher Kein und Aber in proceedings surrounding the book by Roger Schawinski against Jörg Kachelmann and proceedings against the publisher Eichborn Verlag. The firm also regularly advises clients such as Hertha BSC, Heidi Klum and the Jüdische Rundschau at the preventative level and in freedom of speech proceedings.

Romatka & Collegen primarily advises domestic, Austrian and Swiss publishing companies on the entire spectrum of press, copyright, competition and employment law matters and is well-versed in media transactions. The team surrounding Gero Himmelsbach also has profound experience in disputes, which particularly manifests itself in freedom of speech proceedings on side of the press, but which also benefits various domestic industry companies; the latter also seek the firm’s expertise in reputation protection and crisis communication. The client portfolio includes Heinrich Bauer Verlag, Paul Parey Verlag and FUNKE.

In the press and publishing sector SKW Schwarz Rechtsanwälte acts with an explicit focus on publishers, which the team led by the well regarded Konstantin Wegner advises on the entire spectrum of publishing, copyright and press law matters. The firm also handles disputes and transactions. Recent mandates surrounded claims to information and reporting based on suspicion.

Sven Krüger Rechtsanwälte is well versed in advising those affected by media coverage and assisting newspaper and book publishers. Sven Krüger advised a company on crisis communication and individual clients in business and politics on counterstatements, prohibition orders and in freedom of speech disputes. He also acts for publishing companies and authors on the entire spectrum of media and publishing matters. Other clients include DIE ZEIT and Ullstein Verlag.

With a clear focus on advising those affected by media coverage Frömming Mundt & Partner acts for prominent companies and individual clients in connection with invasions of personal privacy, the defence against unlawful reporting and in damage claims, injunctive relief and counterstatement claims. Endress Wanckel is the main contact.

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