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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 > Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Rupert Bellinghausen - Linklaters
    • Uwe Hornung - Clifford Chance
    • Thomas Kreifels - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
    • Markus Meier - Hengeler Mueller
    • Stefan Rützel - Gleiss Lutz
    • Rolf Trittmann - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Best known for handling large-scale international mandates including class actions and liability matters, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has been representing Volkswagen and its subsidiaries Audi, Porsche and Skoda in several product-related civil actions in various jurisdictions. In equally significant work, the team successfully defended the energy supplier RWE in climate liability proceedings against allegations brought by a Peruvian Andean resident that the company had caused the melting of a glacier in the Andes by CO2 emissions. In co-operation with the antitrust team, Roman Mallmann defended a German food and semi-luxury items producer against several antitrust claims for damages due to alleged quota and territorial agreements in Europe. In similar work, the team defended ThyssenKrupp GfT Gleistechnik against damage claims brought by Deutsche Bahn together with regional transport companies and superstructure material buyers. Boris Kasolowsky, Christian Duve, Thomas Kreifels, Martina de Lind van Wijngaarden and Rolf Trittmann are recommended. Antitrust expert Michael Esser moved to Latham & Watkins LLP.

As well as its expertise in capital markets and corporate litigation, defending against antitrust damage claims constitutes a central pillar of Gleiss Lutz’s practice. Recently, Andrea Leufgen defended HeidelbergCement against damage claims brought by the Belgian company Cartel Damage Claims for antitrust violations. In equally noteworthy work, Detlef Schmidt represented E.ON in proceedings against the Federal Republic of Germany including the states of Bavaria and Niedersachsen, claiming damages for the forced shutdown of two nuclear power plants as a result of the government’s decision to phase-out nuclear power. Infineon instructed Stefan Rützel’s team to act in an insolvency law dispute, while defending SKF in a lawsuit brought by Senvion regarding the supply of faulty bearings for rotors used in wind turbines constitutes another significant matter. Stephan Wilske and Gerhard Wegen are recommended; Wolf Heinrich von Bernuth left the team to found the boutique VON BERNUTH Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH.

Hengeler Mueller provides ‘a very high service level and keeps deadlines reliably’. Noted for its ‘structured and convincing arguments’, the team has a strong profile for class actions, including antitrust damage claims, and for liability claim enforcements in the automotive sector. In recent work, the team defended the sugar producer Nordzucker against damage claims following antitrust procedures, while Markus Meier and Gerd Sassenrath have been representing Porsche Automobil Holding in several prominent proceedings including the defence against dieselgate-related damage claims, various corporate disputes and in criminal proceedings against former board members. Together with Philipp Hanfland, Meier has also been representing the car manufacturer in legal actions brought by investors regarding emissions manipulation allegations resulting in falling stock prices. In other work, Hanfland defended a real estate company against claims made in connection with a loan agreement. Other clients include Uber and Sal. Oppenheim. Henning Bälz and Carsten van de Sande are recommended. Vanessa Wettner moved to WilmerHale.

Allen & Overy LLP’s strength lies in handling corporate litigation such as disputes over business acquisitions and insolvencies, and in defending against antitrust damage claims and professional liability claims. Marc Zimmerling continues to represent KPMG in litigation with the Arcandor insolvency administrator over the assets of the retail and tourism group Arcandor; the dispute concerned damage claims for the alleged provision of incorrect restructuring advice. In equally significant work, Benedikt Burger acted for the Spanish pump manufacturer ESPA Group in corporate disputes with former co-shareholders and managing directors of its German subsidiaries. Wolf Bussian and team head Daniel Busse are recommended.

CMS is particularly active in corporate and post-M&A litigation, insolvency appeals and liability disputes. Claus Thiery and Dorothee Ruckteschler are well versed in handling matters of the latter, while insolvency appeals are predominantly handled by Frank Grünen, who also has solid expertise in the energy sector. Other key figures include Torsten Lörcher and Matthias Schlingmann; the latter acts in several Iran-related proceedings before the courts of the European Union.

Clifford Chance’s ‘very experienced and competent’ dispute resolution team has substantial expertise in post-M&A and antitrust disputes alongside litigation in the financial, capital markets, energy and plant engineering sectors but is also increasingly active in D&O matters. The recommended Michael Kremer defended Moravia Steel against damage claims brought by Deutsche Bahn pertaining to the rail cartel, and, similarly, defended KONE against claims for damages from cartel agreements before the Regional Court of Berlin, Hanover and Düsseldorf. In other work, the team represented a software company in a dispute over the possible ineffectiveness of a brand acquisition, and Uwe Hornung defended the law firm Gleiss Lutz against damage claims brought by Stefan Mappus, former minister president of the state of Baden-Württemberg, before the Regional Court of Stuttgart and the Higher Regional Court of Stuttgart with regards to the alleged violation of third-party protection obligations. Burkhard Schneider heads the team which includes newly promoted counsel Jan Conrady. Counsel Stefan Kirsten left the firm to found Kirsten. Risk & Disputes and Heiko Heppner moved to Dentons.

Described as a ‘reliable partner providing an excellent service level’, Hogan Lovells International LLP handles a broad range of contentious matters including commercial, corporate and contractual litigation and is particularly well versed in product liability. With equally broad industry knowledge, the team frequently deals with automotive, transport and life sciences sector work, among others. Recently, Detlef Haß defended Air Canada against damage claims brought by DB Barnsdale for the alleged air cargo cartel, and represented Volkswagen in an interim proceeding against two suppliers following a delivery stop and a threat to halt all production of several key components. Jürgen Johannes Witte is one of the team’s key figures.

Benefiting from its international network, the ‘outstanding’ team at Latham & Watkins LLP is ‘always available’ and ‘capable of putting itself in the client’s position’. The team has substantial expertise in corporate and banking litigation, while its antitrust capabilities were strengthened by the arrival of Michael Esser from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. ‘Excellent and strategically clever litigatorChristoph Baus represented Achim Ahrendt, liquidator of the two funds Deutsche S&K Sachwerte Nr. 2 and S&K Real Estate Value Added Fondsgesellschaft, in asserting claims against 3,700 individual investors and the S&K funds initiators. In co-operation with the corporate department, the team also acted for Hamburger Hochbahn in appeal proceedings pertaining to a holding company’s financing responsibilities. Markus Rieder represented a major European bank in several legal challenges and appeals filed in Germany and Austria following a company merger and related restructuring. Carsten Witzke, the ‘strategic and prudentSebastian Seelmann-Eggebert and the ‘strategically thinking’ Volker Schäfer are recommended. Finn Zeidler moved to Gibson Dunn.

Much of Linklaters’ work pertains to corporate and post-M&A disputes but the team also handles various contentious insolvency-related matters. In a recent highlight, the frequently recommended Rupert Bellinghausen defended an international industrial services provider against damage claims for breach of warranty as part of a post-M&A arbitration. Alexandros Chatzinerantzis is another key figure of the team, which includes recently promoted partner Christian Schmitt.

Noerr frequently handles bank and capital markets-related litigation alongside contentious product liability and insurance law matters. Christine Volohonsky has been representing an international trading group in various contentious issues pertaining to a joint venture, and acted for Kommunale Wasserwerke Leipzig before the Court of Appeals in London for payment claims from derivatives. Stefan Blum defended Sal. Oppenheim against several damage claims brought by investors for alleged faulty investment advice provided on Oppenheim-Esch fund matters, while team head Michael Molitoris represented various companies of an international automotive supplier in product liability proceedings for airbags including recall negotiations and recourse claims. Other key individuals include Oliver Sieg and newly promoted partner Sophia Habbe.

Having specialist expertise in the financial, automotive and energy sectors, the ‘goal-oriented’ team at White & Case LLP is particularly active in cross-border litigation. Recently, Christian Wirth and counsel Ulrich Carlhoff represented a bank in several proceedings where insolvency administrators asserted avoidance claims on non-performing restructuring loans amounting to several million euros. Another bank instructed the team to defend against damage claims pertaining to a life insurance package. In other work, the practice represented the state of Baden-Württemberg in a procedure before the Administrative Court of Stuttgart, defending the client against claims brought by Deutsche Bahn for the reimbursement of additional costs incurred by the construction project Stuttgart 21, and assisted the insolvency administrator of Infinus with the enforcement of shareholder loans totalling €320m. Markus Burianski and the ‘extremely competent and very experiencedMarkus Langen are other key members of the team. Local partner Katharina Kendziur moved to Lutz | Abel Rechtsanwalts GmbH and Daniel Eckstein was appointed a judge at the Regional Court of Berlin.

Baker McKenzie routinely deals with construction and plant engineering sector instructions alongside post-M&A disputes, frequently including cross-border elements with Asia, and has notable experience in matters related to compliance, product liability and energy law. Utilising this expertise, Heiko Haller acted for an auditing firm in a potential liability case pertaining to the assessment of an onshore wind farm portfolio. In other work, he has been representing a bank in proceedings related to the financing of a power plant project. Axel Hamm is acting for a group of companies in the energy sector in a dispute over the construction of solar systems, and Peter Stankewitsch represented a company from the aluminium production sector in a dispute over the delivery of defective production equipment. Key individuals include Jörg Risse, Ragnar Harbst and team head Günter Pickrahn.

Clients appreciate DLA Piper’s ‘uncomplicated co-operation and comprehensive advice’ on commercial and contractual disputes, which frequently stand in relation to D&O, insolvency law and compliance. Daniel Sharma represented a client in damage claim proceedings against a former subcontractor before the Regional Court of Stuttgart. Counsel David Buntenbroich, who stands out for his ‘excellent legal analysis’, is recommended along with Thomas Gädtke and team head Ludger Giesberts. Stefan Dittmer moved to Dentons.

Post-M&A and corporate litigation constitutes a central pillar of Wach + Meckes LLP’s practice but the team is also experienced in D&O liability alongside banking and capital markets disputes. Praised for its ‘strategic approach when preparing for trial’, the team acts for a broad client base including a number of national and international private equity firms, service companies and manufacturing groups . The ‘strong and tenacious’ Karl Wach, who stands out for ‘his extensive forensic experience’, is recommended along with Frank Meckes.

Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek’s ‘very competent’ practice frequently works in conjunction with the antitrust and finance departments when handling contractual and commercial disputes, and is experienced in acting in post-M&A disputes and D&O claims alongside matters related to construction and insurance law. Sebastian Jungemeyer has been acting for a foreign mail-order business in the entertainment sector in asserting payment claims, while Stefan Osing represented AXA in liability proceedings against several architects, engineers and construction companies. HANSAINVEST Hanseatische Investment instructed the team to assert warranty claims as part of a purchase and construction contract for a large construction project in Düsseldorf. Clients single out Ulrike Gantenberg and Elke Umbeck. Martin Karwatzki and Christopher Marx were made salaried partners.

Kantenwein Zimmermann Fox Kröck & Partner provides ‘thorough advice and demonstrates a high level of commitment’. The ‘tactically savvy and assertive’ team is ‘a real alternative to big law firms’, and, thanks to its multidisciplinary approach, is well equipped to guide clients through finance, accounting and tax-related disputes. The ‘highly competent’ Alexander Kröck ‘focuses on the main issues and is a first-class lawyer with great business know-how’. Clients also praise his ‘analytical approach and his confident negotiation style’. The ‘very balanced and solution-oriented’ Marcus van Bevern is ‘particularly adept at handling finance and bankruptcy disputes’, while the ‘very friendly, charismatic and dedicated’ Annett Kuhli ‘always delivers sensible results’ and is noted for her ‘broad tax law expertise’.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s client base includes insurance companies, banks and large corporations: in recent work, Sven Förster assisted an insurance services provider with negotiations on damages that had occurred from a warranty and indemnity insurance, and Clemens Rübel has been representing an automotive supplier in cross-border patent infringement proceedings concerning automobile headlights. Team head Jamie Nowak defended a European distribution company of a global electronics company against damage claims filed for an alleged deficient control system.

SZA Schilling, Zutt & Anschütz Rechtsanwalts AG has corporate litigation at its core but also handles capital markets and insolvency-related disputes. The team defended the car manufacturer Volkswagen against damage claims brought by investors and in related capital markets disputes following the alleged infringement of disclosure obligations concerning dieselgate, and defended Vossloh against damage claims brought by Deutsche Bahn for alleged illegal antitrust agreements. Stephan Harbarth, Marc Löbbe and Jochem Reichert are recommended. Stefan Zeyher was elevated to the partnership and Florian Schumacher was made counsel.

Taylor Wessing is well versed in advising and representing clients in commercial, distribution and corporate litigation. Philipp Behrendt continues to advise EasyJet on disputes with Berlin Schönefeld Airport and Berlin Brandenburg Airport over opening delays and damages resulting from runway renovations, among other issues. In other work, Henning Moelle has been acting as international lead counsel for the pharmaceutical company Grünenthal in product liability claims for alleged birth defects caused by thalidomide. Dirk Lorenz heads the team, which includes Harald Bechteler.

Much of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s contentious work features antitrust and finance elements: antitrust expert Dirk Schroeder has been representing Otis in several proceedings, defending against antitrust-related damage claims brought by a number of plaintiffs including municipalities, transport companies and general contractors. As another significant matter, Thomas Kopp has been acting for the Republic of Argentina in several German court proceedings concerning foreign debt. Richard Kreindler is another key figure of the team.

Eversheds Sutherland acts in antitrust and competition law litigation alongside corporate and commercial disputes, frequently with practice head Joos Hellert in the lead: he represented a client from the luxury furniture sector in several sales antitrust law proceedings, and assisted a new client with a corporate dispute, including cross-border elements, pertaining to the inclusion of shares in a medical device company and related damage claims. An industrial machinery company retained the team to act in several disputes resulting from a restructuring, including the fulfilment of warranty claims, among other issues.

Haver & Mailänder Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaft mbB receives regular instructions from automotive sector players on D&O liability matters, service contracts, post-M&A disputes and damage claims including recall actions. Gert Brandner heads the team, which includes Kai Graf von der Recke and recently promoted partner Hans-Georg Kauffeld.

Jones Day’s strength lies in dealing with matters connected with energy law, regularly representing energy sector clients in price revision proceedings alongside supply and post-M&A disputes. Financial institutions, investment companies and manufacturing groups also instruct the team, which is led by Johannes Willheim.

Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH predominantly represents manufacturing industry clients in a broad range of contentious matters, most notably in energy, antitrust, banking and capital markets law disputes alongside commercial, corporate and distribution law litigation. Stephan Bausch, Anne Caroline Wegner, Ulrich Theune and Richard Happ are recommended. Counsel Wilhelm Danelzik joined Andersen Tax & Legal.

Oppenhoff & Partner’s broad range of contentious work reflects an equally broad client roster, which includes investment and pharmaceutical companies, financial institutions and service providers,which the team frequently represents in corporate and post-M&A disputes, D&O liability proceedings and claims for damages. The ‘very experienced and competent’ Peter Klappich is particularly praised as ‘handling matters independently’, while clients also appreciate his ‘flexible approach and fast response times’. Other key individuals include the ‘reliable’ Vanessa Pickenpack, whose antitrust expertise leads to frequent antitrust damage claim instructions from plaintiffs and defendants, and Silvanne Helle.

Good’ law firm SKW Schwarz Rechtsanwälte represents its clients in commercial and distribution law litigation, frequently including cross-border elements, and in product liability proceedings. The ‘very efficient’ Oliver Hornung defended Telekom Deutschland against damage claims for the alleged breach of contract concerning the introduction of telecommunications services and antitrust violations. In other work, the team represented a health sector client in a dispute against a pharmaceutical company over sales agent indemnification payment claims, and acted for a wholesaler in claiming damages from the parent company of an Asian supplier for the deliberate deception of the origin of goods. Christoph Meyer and Arndt Tetzlaff jointly head the team.

Routinely acting on the defence side, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP focuses on representing banks and international companies in corporate, insolvency and competition law disputes. As a highlight, recommended practice head Britta Grauke acted for Ryanair in state aid proceedings.

Frequently working in conjunction with the corporate, compliance and regulatory departments, the strength of WilmerHale lies in handling matters at the intersection of civil law and the regulatory space. This includes antitrust civil litigation and related claims for damages but the practice also demonstrates expertise in handling contentious banking and capital markets matters alongside corporate litigation. Stefan Ohlhoff and the ‘very competent and pragmatic’ Ulrich Quack have been representing Deutsche Bahn in the assertion of claims for further financing contributions amounting to €1bn following additional costs incurred for the infrastructure project Stuttgart 21. To compensate for the team losing Christofer Eggers to Squire Patton Boggs and Klaus Schubert to K&L Gates LLP, the practice added Vanessa Wettner from Hengeler Mueller. Hans-Georg Kamann is another key figure of the team.

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