Comment: A leading firm in corporate which continues to demonstrate its strength as advisor to supervisory and executive boards, with Reichert in particular demand for D&O liability issues. The huge upturn in the market for such advice generally suits the partner-centric style at SZA, which has spread also to the younger generation, who all accordingly have practices which are self-generated. However, the stronger emphasis on restructuring in the Mannheim office is new. Brandes in Frankfurt has also managed to build a restructuring practice in a counter-cyclical market. The firm remains one of the strongest market players in ?corporate litigation, with the VW instruction providing a high utilization rate. That instruction came about primarily through the arrival of ex-Clifford partner Pfüller, and he was joined by other finance partners whose contacts to Asia in particular have begun to bring in corporate work for the Frankfurt office. Slowly but surely, SZA is changing and broadening its profile in corporate. One example of this was being called in by New York top firms Wachtell Lipton and Wilson Sonsini to advise on the German takeover law aspects of major deals (e.g. Bayer/Monsanto)).
Strengths: Long tradition in stock corporation law. Very good contacts in the management levels of some core clients. Particularly strong in litigation.
Recommended: Prof. Dr. Jochem Reichert (“strong academic and pragmatic”, competitor), Dr. Stephan Harbarth, Dr. Thomas Liebscher, Dr. Stephan Brandes, Dr. Marc Löbbe (“brilliant corporate lawyer, radiates confidence”, competitor), Dr. Heino Rück (“versatile, highly experienced insurance expert”, competitor), Christian Gehling, Ruth-Maria Thomsen, Dr. Christoph Nolden, Markus Pfüller (esp. capital markets).
Practice: Top-level practice for stock corporation law with an industrial focus (mainly automotive and pharma). Highly sought after as an independent advisor for liability issues ( ?corporate litigation). Integrated corporate and capital markets advice, transactions ( ?M&A). Also ?company succession and trusts. (13 partners, 4 counsel, 25 associates)
Clients: ?? VW worldwide (except the US) on breach of publicity duties in diesel scandal; Mektec Group on various conversion measures; NOK Europa on restructuring; majority shareholder of media group on dispute with other majority shareholders.
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