Financial services: litigation in Germany
Allen & Overy LLP
Allen & Overy LLP’s team has strong industry expertise in the banking and finance sector, with particular emphasis on the synergies between dispute resolution and internal investigations. It benefits from the good interdisciplinary cooperation at both national and international level, and is well positioned to deal with complex cases. Together with the firm’s tax law team, for example, the group handles the civil law processing of various cum/cum and cum/ex transactions. Wolf Bussian regularly defends various credit institutions in disputes, including the representation of a number of banks in the enforcement of claims in the hundreds of millions. Jan Erik Windthorst, who is particularly experienced in internal investigations and regulatory audits in the financial industry, is another key figure in the team.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s dispute resolution practice is valued by clients for its ‘high level of service and industry knowledge’ in the banking and finance sector. Following the departure of Christian Duve, who became self-employed, the team is now led by Michael Rohls. Drawing on his extensive experience, he represented a major bank in a case concerning the extent to which a bank can enter into swap agreements with an international company. He is also a member of the team defending Bayerische Landesbank in litigation concerning repayments and interest payments for various financing transactions. Arbitration expert Boris Kasolowsky represented the Republic of Albania in an ICSID arbitration against the Anglo-Adriatic Group in connection with Albania’s foreign investment legislation.
Hengeler Mueller has an ‘excellent’ market reputation for handling disputes in the financial services sector, not least due to its good networking and positioning in the representation of banks, private equity funds and financial institutions. The group has strong experience handling Invester Sample Procedure Law procedures; in recent work, it represented Deutsche Bank and, under the lead of ‘good tactician’ Markus Meier, Porsche in this space. Arbitration experts Henning Bälz and counsel Ralf Willer represented Achmea Holding before the German state courts under the bilateral investment agreement between the Netherlands and the Slovak Republic. Philipp Hanfland, appreciated for his ‘very strategic approach’, is defending a bank in a variety of cross-border disputes.
Linklaters is ‘very good’ for litigation; it acts for national and international banks, and has particular experience in directors’ liability suits and capital market disputes. Among its longstanding clients are Barclays Bank and Bayern LB. The group recently represented the latter in the defence of two lawsuits brought by Bluewaters Communications Holdings. Klaus Saffenreuther, who focuses on banking and finance matters, defended other banks against claims for damages, while Robert Henrici is experienced in capital markets-related conflicts. Alexandros Chatzinerantzis and Christian Schmitt are also central figures in the practice.
Clifford Chance’s dispute resolution team defends clients against claims for damages and contract disputes, and represents them in tax proceedings and internal investigations. The main contact is the experienced Burkhard Schneider, who focuses on securities and banking disputes as well as on contract drafting and management. Recent work includes representing a bank in a number of banking supervisory proceedings. The group, which also includes senior associates Sibylle Haas and Paul Hauser, assists various clients with legal questions concerning cum/ex and cum/cum transactions.
Gleiss Lutz’s dispute resolution practice, which is recognised for its ‘high quality performance’, handles disputes in various areas of the financial services industry. In addition to advising banks, hedge funds and asset managers, the group positions itself well in the market with a solid private equity team. In cooperation with the tax practice, dispute resolution head Stefan Rützel acted for a bank in claims concerning cum/ex transactions, one of many instructions in this area. Andrea Leufgen also has great expertise in the area of banking litigation; she is defending Heta Asset Resolution in appeal proceedings against Bayrische Landesbank.
Noerr represents and defends a wide range of clients in credit investment and security proceedings, as well as in the areas of bank liability and payment transactions. Hans Christian Kirchner acts for a number of national and international credit institutions; for example, he represented Berlin Hyp in defending claims regarding processing fees in loan agreements with entrepreneurs. Deutsche Bank is another longstanding client. The group is representing Berliner Sparkasse, a branch of Landesbank Berlin, in long-running litigation relating to multiple claims, including defending against alleged claims for damages from transactions with Russia. Matthias Stupp joined from White & Case LLP in May 2017. Daniel Latta, Kolja Dörrscheidt and Stefan Blum are also names to note.
SERNETZ • SCHÄFER
Boutique firm SERNETZ • SCHÄFER focuses on banking, capital markets and corporate law, and ‘offers legal advice at the highest level’. It is regularly instructed by major private banks, federal state banks and state institutions. The group works exclusively for financial institutions in individual disputes and model cases. Under the leadership of the experienced Helge Großerichter, the firm represented, among others, FMS Wertmanagement in litigation against the settlement unit of Hypo Alpe Adria regarding the repayment of a bond affected by an embargo. The client portfolio also includes UniCredit Bank and numerous Sparkassen (savings banks), Volksbanken and Raiffeisenbanken (cooperative banks). Frank Schäfer is regarded as ‘a luminary in the field’, while Andreas Höder and Ferdinand Kruis are recognised as ‘technically excellent’.
Latham & Watkins LLP has experience in advising and representing banks and shareholders in investment and insolvency disputes. Christoph Baus heads the conflict resolution practice and is particularly experienced in capital investment law and in assisting with mass proceedings. Together with restructuring and insolvency expert Frank Grell, he acted for insolvency administrator Achim Ahrends and S&K Real Estate Value Added Fondsgesellschaft in the enforcement of claims against numerous individual investors. In cooperation with the antitrust practice, Baus defended Deutsche Bank against claims for damages and recourse arising from alleged infringements of antitrust law through the application of uniform dealer fees. Christine Gärtner and Volker Schäfer are also recommended.
White & Case LLP has comprehensive expertise in representing banks, financial institutions and insurance companies in various legal disputes as well as in insolvency law disputes, and makes use of good cross-practice synergies. The group represented a major bank in several proceedings brought by insurance companies. The ‘flexible and fast’ Christian Wirth successfully acted for a credit rating agency in connection with the enforcement of a remuneration claim. Markus Langen, who is particularly experienced in liability issues and defence in class actions, represented a German bank in various proceedings. The client portfolio also includes Credit Suisse, Nord/LB and UniCredit.
Kantenwein Zimmermann Spatscheck & Partner
In addition to the firm’s proven industry expertise in the financial services sector, clients of Kantenwein Zimmermann Spatscheck & Partner also benefit from the additional qualifications of some team members as auditors and tax consultants. The group covers the entire spectrum of litigation, from representing banks, initiators and prospectus publishers in liability matters to asserting and defending claims. The central figure in this area is Marcus van Bevern, who has in-house experience with two German credit institutions in addition to litigation expertise. He recently acted for an investor in the restructuring of several special purpose entities and represented a bank in litigation against various insurance companies. Stefan Hackel also deserves special mention.
Mayer Brown LLP
Mayer Brown LLP has access to a well-connected global network of specialist banking and finance lawyers, and can therefore advise on the full range of dispute resolution. The German practice, which has a clear focus on litigation in the financial services sector, acts for investment banking companies, private equity funds and insurers. Jan Kraayvanger, who focuses on disputes in the financial services sector, recently acted for an insurer in damages litigation in connection with cum/ex transactions;he was also part of a team that represented a private equity firm in a judicial review.
Clients value Waldeck Rechtsanwälte PartmbB’s practice for its ‘high professional standard’ and ‘above-average performance’; it acts for domestic and foreign banks in disputes in the field of banking and capital markets law, in connection with stock exchange and over-the-counter securities transactions, and takes the regulatory environment into consideration when advising on civil and commercial law issues. Christian Faßbender focuses on commercial and corporate as well as capital markets law and provides ‘creative solutions’; he led representation of Capitell Vermögensmanagement in a model case concerning prospectus errors and the sale of participations in Hannover Leasing 193. In other work, Marcus Blankenheim defended Commerzbank in numerous disputes. Jan Liepe and Hendrik Pielka are regarded as ‘outstanding in all areas’.