Germany Teams 2018 – GC Powerlist

Germany Teams 2018

  • Industries

  • Powerlist


| Aareal


The transaction legal team of Aareal Bank comes highly recommended by nominators on the back of a highly qualified legal team of over a dozen international lawyers, its extremely well...


| Acatus


Formed in just 2016, Acatus has already achieved what several companies take many years to accomplish, boasting a competent and knowledgeable in-house team that is fully involved with the needs...


| adidas

Consumer products

2018 marked the end of an era for Adidas, as long-standing head of legal – and grandson of Puma founder Rudolf Dassler – Frank A. Dassler retired at the end...


| Allianz


One of the Munich-headquartered financial services company Allianz’s most prominent outward-facing deals in the recent past was its announcement in June 2017 that the Turin Stadium, home of Juventus Football...


| Amprion

Energy and utilities

Overseeing all legal aspects of operating the longest high-voltage electricity network in Germany, with over 11,000km of network stretching from Lower Saxony to the Alps, Amprion’s legal team is regarded...


| Audi

Consumer products

A major development for the Audi in-house legal team came in June 2018, with the creation of a new position within the department in response to developments in the company’s...


| Aurelius


The legal team of German financials group Aurelius has doubled in size over the last three years to its current strength of 12 individuals, and is now a consistently strong...

Axel Springer

| Axel Springer

Sports and media

Axel Springer has become Europe’s leading digital publisher, with numerous multimedia known brands such as Bild, Die Welt and Fakt. It currently employees over 15,000 people in more than 40...

B. Braun Group

| B. Braun Group


Led by highly respected general counsel Volker Daum who is a major advocate of the use of legal technology, the B. Braun Group legal team is at the forefront of...

Banco Santander

| Banco Santander


Due to a full immersion into the business, Timo Spitzer’s legal team (Santander legal corporate and investment banking Germany, Austria and Switzerland) at Banco Santander in Frankfurt quickly established itself...



Materials and mining

Led by group general counsel Wolfgang Haas, who is directly supported in the department by senior vice presidents Matt Lepore and Stefan John, globally BASF’s in-house legal team consists of...


| Bayer


Bayer maintains a vast and highly capable law patents and compliance (LPC) department with almost unparalleled resources. When taking into account compliance and insurance professionals as well as paralegals and...


| Beiersdorf

Consumer products

Personal care company, Beiersdorf, manufactures personal care products and pressure adhesives, and is the owner of a number of renowned household brands, including Nivea, Elastoplast and tesa tape. The legal...



Consumer products

Characteristically, given its status as one of the key pillars of Germany’s world-renowned automobile industry, BMW – and, by extension, its legal team – has had a busy past 12...

Boehringer Ingelheim

| Boehringer Ingelheim


Maintaining the safe operation of one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies requires its legal team to possess both breadth and depth of legal knowledge and specialist skills to succeed...

Bombardier Transportation

| Bombardier Transportation

Industrials and real estate

As well as emphasising the innovative nature of the Bombardier Transportation legal team in terms of legal technology – they have started ‘to challenge the status quo through the changes...


| Bosch

Industrials and real estate

Dr Sebastian Biedenkopf reports that his Bosch legal team continues to prosper. Successfully dealing with a high volume of day-to-day workload, it nevertheless is efficient enough to execute some prominent...


| Braskem

Energy and utilities

Brazil-headquartered petrochemical company Braskem has two industrial plants in Germany, which acts as the base of Braskem Europe. Highly respected Brazilian lawyer Cristiane Rego moved from São Paulo to Europe...

Calypso Technology

| Calypso Technology

Information technology

Calypso Technology’s acquisition by private equity firms Bridgepoint and Summit Partners in 2016 was perhaps the most prominent project undertaken by its lean and extremely effective legal department recently, though...


| Commerzbank


Highly regarded for its transactional capability, which it has proven time and again over the course of a number of prominent M&A deals which have been at the heart of...


| Continental

Consumer products

Continental is a leading German automotive manufacturing company with specialism in tyres, brake systems, interior electronics and automotive safety. It has been in the business since the 19th century and...


| Daimler

Consumer products

Daimler’s legal and regulatory compliance team has been extremely active of late, developing a number of comprehensive internal compliance structures over the past few years. In 2016, as associate general...



Transport and infrastructure

With a total project volume of complex infrastructure projects under management of approximately €24.5bn, state-owned firm DEGES goes about its business in an interdisciplinary manner, meaning that – as team...

Deutsche Bahn

| Deutsche Bahn

Transport and infrastructure

Representing Deutsche Bahn (DB), one of the leading global mobility and logistic companies, is a legal department with 150 lawyers working from Germany and 100 lawyers stationed in foreign offices...

Deutsche Bank

| Deutsche Bank


One of the largest in-house legal teams globally, with many hundreds of individuals working in the department (approximately 300 in the German legal team alone) and highly developed internal processes,...

Deutsche Börse

| Deutsche Börse


Well-known throughout German legal circles for its excellent in-house capability which is able to deal with the lion’s share of legal challenges without recourse to external assistance, Deutsche Börse’s legal...

Deutsche Post

| Deutsche Post

Transport and infrastructure

Deutsche Post is the world’s largest postal service and international service company, it has 510,000 employees and delivers 61 million letters each day in Germany. Due in part to its...

Deutsche Telekom

| Deutsche Telekom

Telecommunication services

Led by general counsel Dr Claudia Junker who has led the company’s legal function since 2010, Deutsche Telekom can count on a highly skilled, motivated and knowledgeable legal team to...


| E.ON

Energy and utilities

Reportage of E.ON in the business press has been dominated by its large, highly complex and €43bn valued acquisition of innogy, as part of a voluntary public takeover offer agreed...


| Edeka

Consumer products

The Edeka Group is the largest German supermarket corporation, consisting of several cooperatives of independent supermarkets under the umbrella Edeka Zentrale, and has its headquarters in Hamburg. Leading the provision...

Evonik Industries

| Evonik Industries

Materials and mining

Renowned for being the largest specialty chemicals company globally, Evonik Industries’ legal team has to deal with correspondingly large projects as a matter of course. Perhaps the most prominent of...


| EY

Commercial and professional services

Sven Hähnel leads the integrated cross-border Germany, Switzerland and Austria in-house legal team of EY, which has achieved notable successes of late. Externally, among a number of project-based achievements, Hähnel...

Fresenius Medical Care

| Fresenius Medical Care


A world leader in renal dialysis machines, Fresenius Medical Care (FMC) is known as one of the fastest-growing companies in Germany, posting €17.7bn in revenue in 2017. The company successfully...



Consumer products

FUJIFILM’s EMEA headquarters is based in Düsseldorf and contains a highly effective multi-discipline legal team led by general counsel and chief compliance officer Oboama Addy. The team is well-known within...

GEA Group

| GEA Group

Industrials and real estate

Global equipment and process technology provider for the food industry and a wide range of industries, GEA Group operates with 18,000 employees worldwide as of December 31, 2017. Generating around...

Generali Deutschland

| Generali Deutschland


The legal team of Germany’s second-largest insurance company, Generali Deutschland, saw movement among its senior personnel in recent months as October 2017 saw Dr Heike Ottemann-Toyza made general counsel, bringing...


| Hapag-Lloyd

Transport and infrastructure

A highly-regarded legal function operating in the demanding maritime sector (principally container shipping, but the company is also involved in cruises via a subsidiary), the Hapag-Lloyd in-house legal team has...


| HARIBO Group

Food, beverages and tobacco

One of the best-loved and most popular confectionary brands in Europe, HARIBO operates factories across the continent and announced in 2017 the opening of its first factory in the US....


| HeidelbergCement

Materials and mining

HeidelbergCement is one of the world’s largest building materials companies; with the takeover of Italian cement producer Italcementi, HeidelbergCement became the number one in aggregates production, number two in cement...


| Henkel

Consumer products

The legal department of chemical and consumer goods company Henkel, is fully equipped to provide outstanding support and counsel to the business, boasting excellent knowledge in applicable laws and regulatory...

Hensoldt Group

| Hensoldt Group

Industrials and real estate

A global pioneer of technology and innovation in the area of defence and security electronics, Hensoldt is a market leader in civilian and military sensor solutions. As an organisation that...

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)

| Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)

Information technology

In July 2015 Dennis Grabherr took charge of HPE’s North Europe legal team comprising of a total of over 20 lawyers spread out over ten jurisdictions. This team was essential...


| HSE24

Consumer products

HSE24 stands for Home Shopping Europe, and is a teleshopping broadcaster that was launched in 1995 under the name HOT (Home Order Television) as Germany’s first teleshopping channel, being renamed...


| Huawei

Telecommunication services

Leading global provider of information and communications technology infrastructure and smart devices Huawei provides integrated solutions across four key domains – telecom networks, smart devices, IT and cloud services. The...

Hugo Boss

| Hugo Boss

Consumer products

Luxury German fashion house Hugo Boss was founded in 1924, and today has 900 group-owned retail stores worldwide, manufacturing clothes for men and women, as well as fragrances, cosmetics, watches...

HypoVereinsbank (UniCredit Bank)

| HypoVereinsbank (UniCredit Bank)


Fifth largest of the German financial institutions according to its total assets and fourth largest bank in Germany according to its number of employees, HypoVereinsbank (HVB), also known as UniCredit,...

Hyundai Motor Europe

| Hyundai Motor Europe

Consumer products

Led by extremely well-regarded general legal counsel and chief compliance officer Hyun-Soo Kim, Hyundai Motor Europe’s eight-person legal team reported two major accomplishments among its successes over the past two...

IKB Deutsche Industriebank

| IKB Deutsche Industriebank


Led by general counsel Ulrich Freitag and with three core teams and 18 individuals, the IKB Deutsche Industriebank legal team has been striving for ‘operational excellence, top-standard legal advice and...

ING Germany Wholesale Banking Legal

| ING Germany Wholesale Banking Legal


Dennis Heidschmidt’s wholesale banking legal team for ING Germany consists of 18 lawyers and is a strong player in the German financial legal sector. Heidschmidt speaks incredibly highly of his...


| ING-DiBa


The ING-DiBa legal team was described by nominating sources as ‘a target-oriented team capable of good cooperation and achieving very precise and accurate work’, highlighting the excellent reputation it enjoys...


| innogy

Energy and utilities

The large and highly qualified legal and compliance team of energy company innogy currently consists of a total of 238 individuals globally (lawyers, paralegals and assistants) and is led by...

Inter Hannover

| Inter Hannover


Property and casualty insurance company, Inter Hannover is wholly owned by Hannover Re, within the business model there are two distribution channels to approach the insurance market -delegated authority and...

JLL Germany

| JLL Germany


Team lead for German legal and compliance for Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) Antonios Kotsis explains that the function has been emphasising flexible working methods of late, with team members empowered...


| Kfw


A highly capable legal team regarded as one of the best in Germany by local legal press, KfW maintains a legal team of 85 organised across three departments. The department...

Klarna Group

| Klarna Group


Dr Miyu Lee, legal director of Klarna Group, waxes lyrical about the ‘exceptional field’ she and her team are working in, which she regards as ‘one of the most exciting...

Konica Minolta

| Konica Minolta

Information technology

In 2014 Konica Minolta merged the two legal departments of its European headquarters and its German sales organisation. The resulting department, under the leadership of manager of legal affairs Kai...


| Krüger Group

Food, beverages and tobacco

Established in 2015, the KRÜGER Group legal team has made an undoubtedly positive impact on the company’s fortunes since then, establishing itself successfully within the business. General counsel and head...

Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW)

| Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW)


A highly respected legal function operating in the unique German Landesbank sector of state-owned banks, Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW)’s legal team is led by head of legal Oliver Lier and has...


| Lanxess

Materials and mining

LANXESS made headlines in the business press around Europe in 2017 when it completed the largest acquisition in its history by taking over US-based Chemtura in a deal valued at...

Lemon Group Services

| Lemon Group Services

Commercial and professional services

As part of the American Omnicom Group, Lemon Group Services controls a vast shared services portfolio across Germany, and counts some of the country’s most valuable companies among its clients....

Lufthansa Cargo

| Lufthansa Cargo

Transport and infrastructure

Excellent regulatory compliance in the necessarily extremely tightly-controlled air freight market is a must, especially for a high-profile company such as Lufthansa Cargo. It is thus at the forefront of...

Lufthansa Group

| Lufthansa Group

Transport and infrastructure

One of the most prestigious airlines globally, Lufthansa is not only one of the largest airline groups but also well-renowned as one of the best; it was ranked as the...

Lufthansa Technik

| Lufthansa Technik

Industrials and real estate

Undertaking a comprehensive restructure over the past 24 months aimed at refocusing the team’s efforts along regional lines as an extension of the overall company’s strategy, Lufthansa Technik’s legal team...



Consumer products

Jörg Kiefer, general counsel of MAHLE since 2008 – and employed by the company since 2001 – speaks extremely positively of his highly experienced and dedicated corporate legal department. ‘In...



Industrials and real estate

The MANN + HUMMEL Group legal team has been active in supporting the company’s activities of late, being a key component of a number of strategic projects that have proved...

MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group

| MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group

Consumer products

An impressive 35-person legal department, MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group legal team has been living up to its strong reputation by successfully completing an impressive number of projects over the past two...


| Merck


Providing legal support and governance management to Merck’s boards and a legal business partner to Merck Group functions (including finance, M&A, procurement and HR), the Merck group legal services department...

Merck Legal Healthcare

| Merck Legal Healthcare


Merck legal healthcare provides legal advice and support to the healthcare business sector at Merck, and comprises a particularly large proportion of Merck’s overall group legal operation at over 90...



Consumer products

German retail group METRO is a diversified retail and wholesale cash and carry group based in Düsseldorf, and is one of the largest retailers in the world measured by revenue....

Native Instruments

| Native Instruments

Consumer products

Head of legal Maike Weber explains the music technology company Native Instruments legal team’s transformation to entirely digital working practices as perhaps its most important innovation of recent years. ‘We...

Open Xchange Group

| Open Xchange Group

Information technology

Constructed from scratch over the past two years, general counsel Maxim Letski reports that the Open Xchange legal department is now a ‘highly specialised and dynamic legal team covering all...

Otto Group

| Otto Group

Consumer products

Otto Group has undergone a comprehensive digital transformation over recent years, going from a catalogue company to an online-driven e-commerce, financial services and logistic services group now boasting annual turnover...

PGIM Real Estate

| PGIM Real Estate

Industrials and real estate

Head of legal for Germany and Luxembourg Matthias Meckert reports that the PGIM Real Estate legal team, globally 25-strong and responsible for legal support of the company’s gross assets under...

ProSiebenSat.1 Media

| ProSiebenSat.1 Media

Sports and media

Chief legal officer Alexander von Voss leads ProSiebenSat.1 Media’s highly-lauded legal team, which has been widely praised in recent years as one of the top performers within Germany. It has...


| Puma

Consumer products

Perhaps the most prominent corporate development in sportswear giant Puma’s recent history came in 2018 when French parent company Kering announced it would be spinning off the majority of its...

REWE Group

| Rewe Group


Successfully overseeing legal support for tens of thousands of supermarkets and hundreds of thousands of employees on behalf of one of Germany’s foremost supermarket chains has led to REWE Group’s...



Energy and utilities

An extremely busy year for German utilities company RWE’s in-house legal team has seen it lauded by multiple sources for its excellent performance on a number of extremely well-covered projects...


| Sandoz


‘Andreas Schillack, head of legal for Sandoz Europe’, a nominating source writes, ‘covers all aspects of pharma in-house legal counselling, leveraging upon his more than 20 years of experience in...



Information technology

Enterprise software giant SAP made headlines in 2018 with a marquee transaction that saw it take significant steps in bolstering its cloud-based services. In April, the company announced its successful...

Schwarz Gruppe

| Schwarz Gruppe

Consumer products

Privately family-owned German retail group Schwarz Gruppe owns and operates the Lidl and Kaufland brands, and it is the fourth largest retailer in the world by revenue. The legal department...


| Siemens

Industrials and real estate

With an overall headcount of approximately 1,500 individuals, Siemens’ legal firepower is comparable to a significant dedicated law firm. Jörg Häring, general counsel for Europe and Africa and general counsel...

Software AG

| Software AG

Information technology

An extremely well-respected, competent and closely-knit team with a strong internal culture and excellent leadership, Software AG’s legal team has been at the centre of some prominent successful moves by...


| Ströer

Sports and media

An extremely active period in terms of acquisitions has marked the Ströer legal team’s work in recent years, and the department has built up an impressive portfolio in this regard...

Sybac Solar Group

| Sybac Solar Group

Energy and utilities

Led by Konstantin Sassen, an extremely experienced general counsel with many years of experience, Sybac Solar Group’s in-house legal team is well-endowed with legal talent. Sassen mentions Laura Tyson, Tay...


| Tchibo

Consumer products

A German chain of coffee retailers, Tchibo has over 1,000 shops and is one of Germany’s largest retail chain. Tchibo’s coffee is sold in supermarkets in the US, Canada, the...

Telefónica Global Services

| Telefónica Global Services

Telecommunication services

Internally, the Telefónica Global Services legal team’s work has been ‘all about digitalisation’ recently, according to general counsel in Germany Florian Engel: ‘We are streamlining contractual works and processes by...

The Linde Group

| The Linde Group

Materials and mining

Led by head of group legal and compliance Dr Christoph Hammerl and approximately 120-strong, the in-house legal function at The Linde Group is on one of the most impressive legal...


| Thüga

Energy and utilities

Headed by Gabrielle Aplenz, the Thüga in-house legal team recently achieved approval for the company to proceed on a major business coup, announcing its capture of a 24.8% stake in...


| thyseenkrupp

Industrials and real estate

The 210-strong thyssenkrupp legal function has been a powerful force for innovation within the company, as group general counsel Arne Wittig explains: ‘During the past two years, thyssenkrupp’s legal department...

TUI Group

| TUI Group


TUI Group is an Anglo-German travel and tourism company which owns travel agencies, hotels, airlines, cruise ships and retail stores. Exceeding its financial goals recently, it was on track to...


| Uber

Transport and infrastructure

The rapid expansion and success of Uber has seen it become an integral part of the transport landscape of many European cities, but historically Germany has been a market where...

UBS Asset Management

| UBS Asset Management


Markus Ratz, head of legal transactions EMEA for UBS Asset Management has been taking an innovative approach to its use of external counsel: ‘We decided to set up an exclusive...


| Unilever

Consumer products

Risk management and integrity is a key part of the legal management at British-Dutch transnational consumer goods company Unilever, making up a large part of a company that pushes a...


| Uniper

Energy and utilities

Dr Patrick Wolff, general counsel and chief compliance officer for Uniper’s large, 112-strong legal and compliance function, lists three main project successes for the team over the past two years:...

United Internet

| United Internet

Information technology

United Internet operates a number of well-known internet services brands, including email services GMX and and web hosting company 1&1. In May 2017 United Internet and German telecommunication service...

VDM Metals Holding

| VDM Metals Holding

Materials and mining

An extremely lively past 24 months has borne significant transactional fruit for the VDM Metals Holding legal team, with general counsel Matthias Möhle listing the most impressive of these. ‘As...


| Volkswagen

Consumer products

Vying with Toyota for the title of largest car manufacturer in the world, Volkswagen is consistently committed to innovation and is in the midst of a major shift in philosophy...




WERTGARANTIE Group is a fast, straightforward and customer oriented insurance organisation domiciled in Germany: Since 1963, WERTGARANTIE has demonstrated how to be a successful insurer for consumer electronics, household appliances,...


| Zalando

Consumer products

Zalando has carved out a highly successful, multibillion-Euro revenue segment in the highly competitive e-commerce sector, thanks to a highly motivated, forward-thinking and capable team of employees; its legal function...


| Zeotap

Information technology

Zeotap provides high-quality data at scale from exclusive sources such as telecom operators, and makes it available to the digital advertising ecosystem. Founded in Berlin in September 2014, it today...

German in-house counsel have had an eventful past two years. New challenges – with GDPR compliance perhaps being the most ubiquitous of these – have met with old to mean an ever-changing and demanding business environment to operate in. This has not, however, prevented German in-house counsel from supporting some of the largest transactions of recent years and continuing the reputation for in-house innovation and overall excellence that has characterised them for many years.

None of this would be possible without tireless dedication, encyclopaedic legal knowledge and excellent internal processes that the in-house legal teams within the GC Powerlist: Germany Teams 2018 display. Some of the best in-house teams globally are contained within these pages, who discuss the creative solutions they have come up with to enable their companies’ business objectives and the methods they have used to achieve the excellent internal cohesion and team identity required to operate at such a high level.

In the inaugural edition of the GC Powerlist: Germany Teams 2018 we are pleased to highlight some of the country’s leading in-house legal teams. To compile this list, we canvassed opinions from both law firm partners and in-house counsel in the jurisdiction. We identified the most impressive teams who have utilised their legal knowledge strategically alongside business insight to make a positive impact towards their organisation’s success.

Beiten Burkhardt

Beiten Burkhardt logo

As Europe’s largest economy and pioneer in terms of economic development, Germany provides domicile for many world class corporate groups and medium-sized hidden champions. In order to maintain the competitiveness of this veritable and diverse business landscape in Germany and to provide development opportunities for these undertakings, the economic and legal environment must be continuously further developed and amended.

The year 2018, too, was characterised by ongoing changes: Turbulences within Europe but also outside the European Union have impacted the German economy. BREXIT negotiations have not yet delivered any results that would defuse the uncertainty with respect to unforeseeable developments. Even if the introduction of significant trade restrictions between the European Union and the United States could be prevented so far, the existing commercial disputes between the United States and China still have a noticeable impact on German companies as these are deeply branched at the international level. Moreover, the political situation in Germany and many other EU countries marked by instability in troubled times, where political parties score with protectionist motives, intensifies commercial uncertainties.

Nevertheless, Germany is strengthened by a stable domestic demand, reflected in a positive economic forecast of between 1.7 and 1.9%. This is primarily due to the constant consumer enthusiasm which is motivated by a low unemployment rate and wage increases. This boosts the development of German companies which moreover also benefit from the fact that Germany still remains an attractive location for foreign investors. It is striking that investments from EU countries, Russia, the US and China have particularly increased in recent years. To implement these transactions faultless and unobjectionable in legal terms, the companies need well-trained and innovative legal departments and skilled experts that are familiar and well-versed in the different national jurisdictions. For the purpose of imparting such specific knowledge, commercial law firms such as BEITEN BURKHARDT successfully establish special competence centres for China, Russia or the United States.

Yet not only the persistently high internationalisation of German companies poses time and again new challenges to legal departments but also the German or rather the European legislator creates new framework conditions. So in the past months, for instance, German companies had to react to facts such as that the statutory minimum wage now applies without exception, the employee’s right to information was introduced, the prerequisites for the introduction of the model declaratory action [Musterfeststellungsklage] were set forth or, very specifically, the EU travel law has been adapted. The most important amendment of a law in 2018 was, however, the entry into force of the European General Data Protection Regulation. Dreaded by many, it has apparently lost its terror and so far it has not triggered the feared “wave of cease-and-desist letters”. Of course, many companies had to expand their data privacy efforts and adapt their existing processes. BEITEN BURKHARDT had also prepared many of its clients and made them ‘fit’ in the run-up; in particular our IP/IT/Media experts eloquently delivered numerous lectures in the Federal Republic.

The necessary economic and legal further development must be pushed and assisted by both commercial law firms and in-house lawyer teams to positively influence the company’s economic success. Legal practitioners should continually strive to expand their knowledge, communicate together and make the need for amendments clear and evident. We at BEITEN BURKHARDT support you with our differentiated industrial sector approach which ensures that the respective industry experts constantly expand and deepen their specific knowledge and are, thus, prepared to answer current and also urgent questions. In addition, we maintain an office in Brussels in close proximity to European legal practice which has an impact on German companies. The earlier we learn about decisions and inform our clients on the related consequences, the sooner German companies will be able to respond to new developments. This way legal departments can quickly and in good time make their own colleagues sensitive and aware to modified framework conditions and provide training for correct behaviour.

In order to ensure that Germany’s legal industry actively promotes legal changes and the economic success of companies, it is necessary to establish an exchange at all levels and across all fields of law. Today’s legal, tax and business management issues arising from any entrepreneurial activity often require an impartial view and competent advice from a third party. Above all, however, the demand of in-house counsels to always have a competent legal expert at their side who does not differentiate fields of law, is legitimate and substantiated. And the law firms must also change their perspective and start “seeing things from a company’s angle” so that they can jointly develop solutions with in-house lawyers.

In the light of current global challenges, success in business now more than ever requires strong partners and full confidence in the innovative capacity of the entire legal industry. The GC Powerlist brilliantly features this innovative power and capacity and provides law-related company projects with an excellent stage. In-house teams of lawyers can discover new possibilities that may be applicable to own challenges, and exchange information on similar or same topics with other in-house lawyers. With its support BEITEN BURKHARDT seeks to promote the opportunities of information exchange and networking. We further sponsor projects which provide an adequate platform to discuss legal developments and respond to judicial issues. Together with you, BEITEN BURKHARDT can promote and further develop the legal industry in Germany and make it fit for the future. Therefore, I am particularly pleased to sponsor the GC Powerlist for the second time now and to get into interaction with you.

In the name of all lawyers, tax advisors and certified accountants of BEITEN BURKHARDT I would like to most warmly congratulate all lawyer teams, honoured with this year’s GC Powerlist award.

Green Summit Finland 2023

The Green Summit Finland 2023, hosted by Castrén & Snellman in Helsinki on 7 June 2023, marked the eight event in our Green Summit series associated with The Legal 500’s Global Green Guide, and the second time we held the summit in Finland. The event brought together leading practitioners and in-house counsel from across the country and region to discuss the legal sector’s contribution to a green transition.

Sakari Lukinmaa, managing partner at Castrén & Snellman, and Anna Bauböck, Global Green Guide editor at The Legal 500 kicked off the summit with a welcome address and some opening remarks.

Anna Kuusniemi-Laine, partner and head of sustainability at Castrén & Snellman, proceeded to chair the first panel which examined the evolving role of the general counsel and corporate legal teams. In this first discussion, the audience heard from speakers at frontrunner companies in the region: Nora Steiner-Forsberg, general counsel at Fortum; Christian Ståhlberg, general counsel at Neste; and Taru Uotila, general counsel at Aspo.

Kuusniemi-Laine set the scene before the discussion, pointing towards how today’s various crises from the pandemic to the war in Ukraine can in fact accelerate progress. Many companies in the region have strengthened their ESG commitments, yet ESG risks and opportunities are changing, and ESG issues are increasingly investigated or taken to court.

A key take-away of the first panel was that sustainable business is the only option, and a key theme was the powerful role inhouse counsel play when it comes to ESG and a green transition due to the influence legal teams can have in corporate decision-making. As Uotila put it: The legal department is there to achieve company goals, and those goals need to involve sustainability if the company wants to survive – therefore ESG is inevitably an integral part of the legal teams’ job.

Lawyers’ role is to balance those ESG risks and opportunities. As Steiner-Forsberg pointed out, lawyers should turn the current ESG regulatory tsunami into a business case, finding the benefits rather than focusing on the burden it may present.

Ståhlberg proposed the adoption of a holistic view, looking at the big picture. He stressed that creating a sustainable business is the only long-term solution, that businesses also need to remain profitable, and that therefore companies need to be innovative. In his opinion, lawyers should think about influencing with a long-term vision.

Two other main points of the discussion around the evolution of the GC role included: firstly, lawyers cannot work in silos, need to talk to colleagues in different functions, and need to stay curious, open minded and up-to-speed; and secondly, legal interpretation forms only a small part of lawyers’ role – today it’s about so much more than mere technical implementation.

After a lively Q&A session followed by a short coffee break, the second panel, chaired by Minna Korhonen, partner at Castrén & Snellman, looked at current trends in sustainable finance and the financing of the net zero transition. The audience heard from speakers and experts Juho Maalahti, country lead sustainable finance advisory at Nordea Bank; Antti Malava, head of sustainability insights & analytics at Danske Bank; and Vilppu Tarvainen, head of DCM Finland & Baltics at SEB.

First, the discussion focused on the context of the Nordic market: The Nordics have been frontrunners in sustainable finance with regulation driving the market, as well as a fear of missing out mentality, especially on the capital markets side. Maalahti illustrated this by pointing to the fact that 60% of corporate bonds were issued under the ESG umbrella in the Nordics, compared to around 30% across Europe.

Malava highlighted that today investors want to associate investments with something good for the world. Referring to the interplay between supply and demand, Tarvainen commented that the demand for sustainable finance was there, and regulation has helped to give it more supply. He added that there has been such a shift in balance that there is now a chance of running out of green assets.

A central part of the discussion revolved around the hot topic of greenwashing. All speakers agreed that the market is currently trying to understand what constitutes greenwashing, there is still no common definition and a great need for regulators to establish this. In particular, this needs to involve the distinction between intentional and unintentional greenwashing

Maalahti stressed how terminology matters, and also drew attention to the fact that some regulation hasn’t worked out the way it was intended. Tarvainen additionally commented on the problem of inverse greenwashing: What is sustainable enough; what is credible in investors’ eyes? He gave the example of a very sustainable product in a very unsustainable company. Malava illustrated how ESG ratings are measuring different things because of a lack of clear definitions.

When Korhonen asked about the scope of comparative data, Malava questioned the possibility of making data comparable when it is being measured differently. Again, the speakers agreed on the need for increased standardisation. As Tarvainen summed it up: We currently have lots of pieces of a big puzzle, but we don’t yet know how they need to be put together.

After another engaging Q&A from the audience and some brief closing remarks from Kuusniemi-Laine, the evening was rounded off by a drinks reception giving participants and speakers a chance to mingle, network and continue the conversation.