Frankfurt

Home to one of the world’s largest stock exchanges and many major financial institutions, Frankfurt remains the most important center for banking and finance, especially capital markets work. It is thus generally seen as a market for large firms working in international finance and with little room for small and midsized firms. The traditional Mittelstand law firm is hard to find in Frankfurt nowadays as many of them have been incorporated into nationwide mergers. However, as one of the few regions that admit lawyer-notaries, Frankfurt allows many smaller firms to live off property notarization as well as instructions from the larger firms.

Significant developments:

- US firms are shopping around in the Frankfurt market for successful partners in order to broaden their palettes.

- Revolving door at Latham & Watkins sees long-standing financing partner Dr. Christina Ungeheuer leave to launch her own firm, while corporate partners Dr. Dirk Oberbracht and Dr. Wilhelm Reinhardt join Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.

- New players Reed Smith and Goodwin Procter stir up the market.

- The Maple Bank insolvency resurrects legal investigations into dividend stripping deals, which have already cost the state billions of euros and are now bringing work for numerous Frankfurt firms.

- Brexit may have a silver lining: many are speculating that Frankfurt could replace London as the financial capital of Europe.