Have there been any lessons learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic that you’d like to share?
The most important, incredibly reassuring and not surprising experience was that we can fullyrely on our employees even in such challenging times. Their flexibility, unwavering commitment and perseverance have ensured that our clients during the last couple of months have never felt any difference from what they are experiencing in normal times. From our clients we have received impressive positive feedback on our fast and uncomplicated service and have been able to strengthen important client relationships.
The second important point is communication. It is essential that the management, in discussion with all employees, takes all of them with it. We as management have decided to go an extra mile to really reach everyone, and can state that it is worth it.
Last but not least, we have learned how important personal contact is. Technology can of course help us to overcome many of our day-to-day issues, but nothing may replace face-to-face meetings.
What sets your firm apart from competitors?
There are many things we handle particularly well: We understand our clients’ business and therefore find economically reasonable solutions providing commercial value. We very much value the personal relationship with our clients; and we attach great importance to the thorough training of our lawyers – which in our view absolutely key for continuously delivering top quality to our clients.
Are there specific practice areas you see as particularly thriving, which you intend to bolster in coming years? Are there any new areas of practice that have emerged recently?
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the need for advice in labor and restructuring/insolvency law has grown. We will certainly expand in these areas in the coming years. In addition to that we in particular see further potential in the areas of litigation, compliance and IP.
What motivated you to change your management structure to an executive board at the start of the year?
The unified board allows us to link strategic issues and day-to-day business smoothly and efficiently. The ways to translate decisions into action have become significantly shorter. We are benefiting from this in the current pandemic crisis, where decision-making and drive are key.
Besides your longstanding presence in Cologne and your second office in Frankfurt, which has also been growing, you opened an office in Hamburg in 2018 – Have there been any particular challenges in your recent expansion and the integration of a third office?
Hamburg is a very special market and we are a unique firm. Therefore, we have taken our time to select further reinforcements. However, we will soon be able to strengthen ourselves significantly and thus will take the next step towards a continuous, dynamic growth in Hamburg.
How active are members of your team in terms of thought leadership?
Our lawyers have an opinion – and they express it. We regularly publish information and background on current legal and industry issues through various channels.
What does innovation mean to you? Can you tell us about any specific innovation initiatives at your firm?
Innovation in a law firm means first of all: Legal firsts. Oppenhoff has a reputation for being at the forefront of legal issues, such as implementation of complex cross-border group structurings. We have always been pioneers in how law firms should be managed: being the first German law firm with an own office in New York, successfully fighting for mergers of law firms beyond city limits (only 30 years ago!), just to name a few impressive milestones for the German legal market.
Today, innovation for us means never being satisfied with the status quo, keep looking for solutions until we have found them and proactively answer questions that have not yet been raised.
Is legal tech important to you? Do you buy off-the-shelf legal tech or build your own in-house?
Legal Tech is an important part of our offer. With the help of BRYTER software we develop, often in collaboration with our clients, tools that make our work more efficient – both the benefits of our clients and ours.