SERNETZ • SCHÄFER > Dusseldorf, Germany > Firm Profile


Corporate and M&A > Corporate

SERNETZ • SCHÄFER's team continues to focus on corporate litigation and is therefore experienced in representing clients in D&O conflicts and stock corporation disputes, while also enjoying an excellent reputation for its advice on mass and test case proceedings. Under the joint leadership of Fabian Dietz-Vellmer and Jörg Mimberg, the practice also assists with various corporate and stock corporation issues and advises on general meetings. Clients include entrepreneurial families and family-owned businesses, financial institutions, investors and foundations.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Andreas Höder; Susanne Zwirlein-Forschner; Ferdinand Kruis; Wolfgang Selter


‘Wolfgang Selter is an experienced corporate lawyer.’

Key clients

Deutsche Pfandbriefbank

Sparta AG

WealthCap Gruppe

Wirecard AG

Work highlights

  • Representation of Wirecard AG (supervisory board) in proceedings concerning alleged accounting fraud.
  • Representation of a large foundation in a dispute concerning its formation and funding, which entails new questions of private international law.
  • Representation of Deutsche Pfandbriefbank in a D&O liability dispute.

Dispute resolution > Financial services: litigation Tier 2

Numerous financial services providers and banks regularly rely on SERNETZ • SCHÄFER to fend off complex lawsuits, including mass proceedings, which are often handled by Jens von Rüden and Manfred Wolf, as well as in KapMuG proceedings, damages claims and cum-ex and cum-cum cases; Ferdinand Kruis is particularly experienced in the latter area. Helge Großerichter, who is extremely adept in banking law disputes, and Peter Balzer, whose expertise includes banking and capital markets law as well as banking regulatory issues, jointly lead the practice.

Practice head(s):

Helge Großerichter; Peter Balzer

Other key lawyers:


‘The Munich team is outstanding in banking disputes, especially our colleagues Kruis and Großerichter.’

‘Overall, an outstanding practice that stands out from the competition: a legally excellent team with unusually broad litigation experience, lean structures and correspondingly fair prices. In my opinion, the first address for complex financial litigation in Germany.’

‘Strong client orientation. Very high level of legal expertise. Very pragmatic, creative and innovative conflict solutions. Very high level of initiative in the interests of the clients.’

‘Ferdinand Kruis and Helge Großerichter: Extremely smart, experienced, fast and think economically and pragmatically. Pleadings and court appearance are of highest quality. Reports provide clear and helpful statements. 11 out of 10 points.’

‘Helge Großerichter: Is particularly characterised by an outstanding strategically oriented focus in advising clients and designing solutions; broad expertise and experience in banking law issues; very sound, precise and convincing arguments; extraordinarily addressee-oriented communication and negotiation, which can quickly win over even demanding conversation partners.’

‘Ferdinand Kruis: particularly characterised by broad expertise and experience in banking law issues; very practice-oriented advice on banking law topics that can quickly be implemented into concrete solutions within your own company; very sound and addressee-oriented argumentation and negotiation; very high flexibility for time-critical processes.’

Key clients

Bayern LB

Bundesverband der Banken

UniCredit Bank AG

Hamburg Commercial Bank AG (früher: HSH Nordbank AG)

Deutsche Pfandbriefbank AG, pbb

Hypo Real Estate

Wirecard Bank

Volkswagen Bank

WealthCap Fonds Gruppe

LBS Bausparkasse

Work highlights

  • Comprehensive advice to Wirecard Bank as a result of the Wirecard scandal, including legal representation.
  • Representation of several major banks pertaining to the challenge of contribution decisions issued to the credit institutions for the European Single Resolution Fund through annulment actions before the European Court (amount in the double-digit million range).
  • Representation of Hypo Real Estate in an investor model case due to allegedly false ad hoc reports before the financial crisis.

Banking and finance > Financial services: regulatory Tier 3

SERNETZ • SCHÄFER‘s regulatory expertise is frequently called upon in the litigation context, whereas the team also assists with transactions, the development of new financial products, including digital products, as well as payment services supervison and money laundering law matters. The practice is regularly instructed by companies, private equity companies as well as large and regional banks. Practice head Frank Schäfer is experienced in banking, capital markets and financial regulatory law; he is supported by Jörg Mimberg (fintech and payment services supervision law) and Thomas Eckhold (banking, capital markets and financial regulatory law).

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Jörg Mimberg; Thomas Eckhold; Ferdinand Kruis; Helge Großerichter; Thomas Klanten; Andreas Höder


‘To me, the Sernetz Schäfer team is one of the leading law firms for all banking regulatory and resolution issues.’

‘Thomas Eckhold is my clear go-to partner, whose constructive, critical and at the same time appreciative, objective manner I greatly appreciate.’

‘Ferdinand Kruis is an excellent lawyer with high assertiveness.’

‘Andreas Höder is an excellent litigator with enormous experience in the finance and corporate sectors. He is assertive and has excellent legal skills.’

‘The law firm represented us excellently in the area of ​​regulation.’

Key clients

Deutsche Pfandbriefbank

EP Global Commerce

Hypo Real Estate

ProSiebenSat1 SE

Stadtsparkasse München

UniCredit Bank AG

VTB Bank (Europe) SE


Wirecard Bank AG

Work highlights

  • Advising Wirecard Bank as a result of the Wirecard scandal, in particular advising on the institution’s regulatory resolution in close coordination with BaFin.
  • Banking and banking regulatory advice to VTB Bank (Europe) SE on the resolution of the bank as a result of EU sanctions and supervisory orders from BaFin; Transfer of the bank to regular liquidation.
  • Regulatory advice to EP Global Commerce on the acquisition of additional shares in METRO AG regarding the reinsurer belonging to the METRO Group; Initiation and implementation of newly required regulatory procedures as part of this transaction.

Germany > Private clients and non-profits Tier 5

SERNETZ • SCHÄFER advises family business owners and wealthy private individuals on asset structuring and corporate succession, including the establishment of foundations, executing wills and inheritance disputes. In the non-profit sector, the team also assists church-related organisations and research foundations with foundation and corporate law issues, including cross-border disputes. Susanne Zwirlein-Forschner (inheritance and corporate law, litigation) and Frank Schäfer (asset succession, inheritance law, execution of wills, arbitration) jointly lead the team, which also includes Wolf-Dieter von Gronau, who is experienced in matters pertaining to ​​artists' estates.

Practice head(s):

Susanne Zwirlein-Forschner; Frank Schäfer

Other key lawyers:


‘They are very competent and work very well together.’

‘Miss Dr. Zwirlein-Forschner is very intelligent, has a very good knowledge of German law and sees things from all perspectives. She works hard, quickly and very efficiently. So far she is the best lawyer I have ever had.’

Medium-sized and independent law firm at an extremely high level.

Dr. Susanne Zwirlein-Forschner is empathetic, technically outstanding, fast, reliable and incredibly educated and a quick thinker.’

What is particularly noteworthy is the extreme care, speed and professionalism of the processing while at the same time extremely open, friendly and pleasant communication.’

The entire process is extremely polite, competent and efficient.

I can’t imagine better advice because all wishes are fulfilled or anticipated through forward thinking.

Mrs. Dr. Zwirlein-Forschner looked after me and I was extremely satisfied. She is extremely competent, explains things very well and visually, and is extremely organized. In addition, Ms. Dr. Zwirlein-Forschner is very client-oriented and makes the entire process much easier. An excellent service with excellent specialist knowledge!!!

Key clients

Michael Ende

Testamentsvollstrecker über den Nachlass Horst Sartorius

Stiftung Offene Chancen

Work highlights

  • Supervision of the execution of the will over the artistic estate of the writer Michael Ende and supervision of the film adaptation projects of his works.
  • Advising a large southern German family office on partially cross-border conversions with the aim of a succession-oriented allocation of assets in different family lines.

Sernetz·Schäfer is a business law firm with a tradition extending back 100 years. Our legal services cover all important aspects of private, commercial and corporate law. The main focus of our work for German and international clients lies on providing advice and representation in all areas of banking, financial regulation, capital markets, corporate law, inheritance and estate planning and M&A.

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Our clients include banks, financial services providers, listed corporations, small and medium-sized companies and their shareholders, entrepreneurs, stock markets, public-law institutions and corporations, as well as private clients. All of Sernetz·Schäfer’s lawyers have outstanding academic records. Furthermore, many have brought with them valuable experience gained from time spent working as in-house lawyers with banks or corporations, with large international law firms, or from studying or working abroad.

The representation of clients in litigation and arbitration has been one of the central focal points of our firm’s legal practice for decades. We thus have an outstanding experience in litigation, both before the state courts as well as in arbitration proceedings. Our lawyers combine outstanding legal know-how with strategic tactics and the commitment to win. We have particular expertise with regard to legal disputes with an international dimension. In such cases we provide comprehensive advice on the applicable law and the international competence of the courts. We explain the process and peculiarities of proceedings before the German courts to our international clients, so as to enable them to make an informed decision as to the further course of events.

We have long had a reputation as one of the leading German law firms in the field of banking and capital markets law. Numerous credit institutes rely on us for banking and supervisory law advice, as well as banking litigation issues. We advise German and foreign banks, stock markets and financial service providers in all areas of banking law, capital markets law, financial supervision and stock exchange law. In all supervisory law matters, our clients not only benefit from our profound legal expertise in this sector, but also from our close contacts to the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin).

We advise German and foreign companies, shareholders and active investors in all aspects of corporate law and corporate governance. Our spectrum of advice includes the preparation of general and shareholder meetings, the implementation of measures relating to a company’s share capital or the legal transformation of entities, the resolving of insolvency law issues, as well the handling of legal matters relating to groups of affiliated companies or matters falling under takeover law. We advise management boards, supervisory boards and managing directors on matters relating to their executive functions and obligations, and advise on the legal safeguarding of their corporate decisions. Furthermore, we also provide legal assistance to managers within the scope of concluding service agreements and in the event of liability issues.

Lawyers : 22
Partners : 17
Paralegals : 8
Wissenschaftliche Vereinigung für Unternehmens- und Gesellschaftsrecht
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