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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 > Non-profit > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Non-profit
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

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Next Generation Partners

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Solid and leading institutionFlick Gocke Schaumburgdoes a good job’ advising clients in the non-profit sector and ‘deserves its top-tier ranking’. The firm acts for non-profit organisations on tax and non-profit matters and while it predominantly handles domestic work, it also advises at an international level, within Europe and beyond, including recently assisting a large US association with the establishment of a branch in Germany. Clients include larger non-profit organisations and foundations, DAX-listed companies, federal ministries, sports associations, research assocations and higher education institutions. As a result of the non-profit team sitting within the private client practice, the firm also covers the entire spectrum of succession, assets and foundations and acts for numerous wealthy individuals and family offices. Recent highlights include advising on the establishment of charitable foundations for an automotive manufacturer and a well-known athlete; the consolidation of charitable foundations and the assessment of the not-for-profit activities of non-profit organisations in Germany and abroad; succession concepts for non-profit institutions; and the separation of a hospital from an ecclesiastical foundation. Stephan Schauhoff is a board member of the Bundesverband Deutscher Stiftungen, the Association of German Foundations. Clients also single out Andreas Erdbrügger. Christian Kirchhain was promoted to partner at the start of 2018.

P+P Pöllath + Partners’s legal and tax advice is ‘just great’ and covers both the establishment of foundations and non-profit organisations and their ongoing support, including structural changes. The client portfolio ranges from philanthropists and donors to foundations and non-profit organisations in the areas of science, art and culture, education and development. The broad team benefits from the firm’s strong practices in the funds area and regulatory law and also has social venture capital expertise. It not only advises at a domestic level but also assists with cross-border matters; it recently advised a UK charity on potentially establishing a presence in Germany. The key contacts in Berlin are Andreas Richter and the frequently noted and particularly active Katharina Gollan; in Munich tax expert Stephan Viskorf is the key name; and in Frankfurt the practice gained a team surrounding associated partner Martin Liebernickel from PwC Legal (PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal AG Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft) in September 2017.

Due to its ‘very quick and professional advice in foundation and tax law and beyond’, the ‘very cooperative’ team at BEITEN BURKHARDT is considered by many as ‘an ideal partner’; without the ‘aloof manner found in certain other firms, but with clear communication and a pragmatic approach’ the team works closely with notaries, the tax practice and the business valuation practice, has a ‘good network and industry expertise’ and ‘exactly understands the needs of foundations’. Advice ranges from the establishment of foundations and gGmbHs, succession planning, including company succession planning, to foundation administration. Working in close cooperation with the M&A practice, the team saw an increase in instructions to relating to shares in foundations, which are to be either expanded or sold. It advises long-term client Else Kröner-Fresenius Stiftung; other foundations in its client portfolio include Anneliese-Brost-Stiftung, NRW Stiftung, Familie Schambach-Stiftung, Dagmar Westberg Stiftung and Helga Ravenstein-Stiftung. Gerrit Ponath, who ‘not only has an outstanding knowledge of the foundation scene, but is also highly approachable and always develops excellent and tailor-made solutions’ and ‘excecutes his job with great passion’. He leads the practice together with Lucas van Randendorgh. Katharina Fink, who was promoted to salary partner at the start of 2018, is also noted by clients.

With twelve years’ experience, Winheller Rechtsanwälteis excellent in terms of its industry expertise and for non-profit topics in Germany’. Clients appreciate the ‘technically very competent’, ‘engaged’ and ‘very broad’ team that is ‘able to handle all matters’, while competitors note ‘the strong growth and reputation’ and at the same time point out ‘the very constructive cooperation’. The practice has expanded its original focus on tax law to many other topics, including data protection. With a focus on so-called crypto-donations, the team also has expertise in areas such as blockchain, cryptographic currencies and fintech: it advised on the establishment of the Iota Foundation, the first crypto-foundation in Germany. In addition to advising classic non-profit organisations, the team is also active in matters involving the formation of foundations; clients in this space include the Hubert Burda Foundation and the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology. Clients also include professional and trade associations, such as Peta Germany and the promotional association PRO Asyl, as well as religious communities including the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat. With the departure of Anka Hakert in September 2018, who now dedicates herself to crypto tax law outside of the firm, Johannes Fein, who is recognised ‘for his expertise regarding religious organisations’ and ‘very good negotiation skills’, took over as practice head. Stefan Winheller has ‘a very plesant manner and excellent knowledge of the financial markets’. New arrivals include Alice Romisch from PwC Legal (PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal AG Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft) in October 2018 and Uwe Müller from KPMG Law Germany in January 2019; the former has criminal tax law expertise and the latter focuses on tax compliance management systems.

Noerr has a particular focus on advice regarding the non-profit status in connection with high-net-worth individuals. Clients also include entrepreneurial families and family businesses, and charitable foundations. The team is advising a charitable foundation on restitution demands for allegedly Nazi-confiscated missing art. It is also assisting the gradual lifetime company succession of a family office founded in the 19th century and is acting for a family entrepreneur on the establishment of a family foundation as holding for the family company. Wolfram Theiss is the key contact. Lutz Schmidt rejoined his former firm SSP-law with his team in June 2018.

Oppenhoff & Partner advises international companies, larger mid-sized companies, high-net-worth individuals and large non-profit organisations on a broad range of matters: In addition to non-profit and foundation law, it also covers corporate and tax law, foreign trade and state aid law, compliance and data protection, and representation in and out of court. Axel Wenzel and Harald Gesell are key names in the team, which frequently advises on the implementation of innovative non-profit projects, the establishment of charitable foundations and is particularly active in cross-border philanthropic projects, such as assisting with the establishment of the first continental European social impact bond for the Benckiser Stiftung Zukunft in the pilot project for the Bavarian State Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs. Other clients include the KSB Foundation, the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science (MPG) and the Zoologischer Garten Köln, the zoo in Cologne.

Rödl & Partner has notable tax expertise but also provides non-profit and succession advice. In the foundations space, the team primarily advises company-linked foundations on various matters, including the establishment of foundations. The client portfolio also includes numerous high-net-worth individuals. Another focus is the healthcare sector. Elke Volland, who was promoted to partner in 2017, heads the practice together with Tanja Creed.

dtb rechtsanwälte advises on non-profit law for private clients, companies and clients in the public sector, including public cultural institutions and federal states. The team frequently assists with the establishment, structuring, development and daily business of various non-profit activities and often covers areas beyond non-profit law, such as trade mark and competition matters and fundraising issues. Historically strong in the arts and cultural sectors, clients include the Berlin University of the Arts, the cultural foundation Stiftung Radialsystem and Me Collection, among others. The team also acts for DRF Luftrettung, a German foundation which offers rescue services in Europe, both in and out of court and advises family foundation Von Arnim’sche Stiftung and the Lead Academy on various matters. Bertold Schmidt-Thomé, who has particular expertise in international matters in the arts and cultural foundations area, and Pascal Decker are the key contacts.

For 25 years Kantenwein Zimmermann Spatscheck & Partner has advised foundations and non-profit associations on their establishment and daily business. The client portfolio includes local Munich-based foundations and larger foundations, which are active across a wide variety of sectors. The team has particular strength in tax matters with several lawyers who are additionally qualified as tax consultants or auditors. Recent highlights include the establishments of a foundation for a hidden champion, a literature foundation for a prominent author and a promotional association for football fans. The group provided tax advice to a foundation in the art industry. Also noteworthy is Thomas Kantenwein’s board activity for Stiftung für die bedrohte Tierwelt, a foundation for endangered wildlife, and Eleonore-Beck-Stiftung, for which the firm provides comprehensive advice, particularly on the restructuring of assets and fundraising contracts. Annett Kuhli is also noted.

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