Graf von Westphalen

Comment: Graf von Westphalen completed its cultural change of recent years. The team-oriented approach to advice pushed by management under Dr. Robert Theissen and Christof Kleinmann is paying dividends. Today, the practices work in close cooperation, without having abandoned the strong levels of team specialization. Just what GvW is capable of is shown in impressive fashion by the work for the Federal Ministry of Transport, which was advised by Dr. Dietrich Drömann’s team on reforming federal executive administration: the instruction provided work for regulatory lawyers as well as a number of other practices, incl. corporate, tax and employment. Referrals within practices also helped other legal fields to advance, away from the signature disciplines, e.g. customs and trade, real estate and construction. The IT/IP and employment practices, for example, increased their headcounts. And the corporate practice managed to branch out internationally and raise activity to a new level, as shown by work for Barnes and Concardis. This was also helped along by the well-established China desk, which was bolstered by a counsel from Beiten Burkhardt.
But the new strategy has not only met with approval internally. As in previous years, partners left the firm: two M&A partners and an employment lawyer, who joined as a team just one and a half years ago, went to Oppenhoff. This shows that not all partners are ready to adapt to the new structure, but also suggests that GvW is prepared to accept staff losses to hold its course. However, GvW has more than once shown a knack when it comes to integrating external lawyers, and yet again brought in experienced partners from other firms. Extremely well-regarded aviation experts Dr. Volker Gronefeld and Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hösch joined the Munich office as of counsel and partner respectively. The real estate and construction practice welcomed rainmaker Dr. Maximilian Jahn as partner from Kapellmann. Four internal partner appointments show that GvW is not forgetting its own young lawyers.
Strengths: ?Customs and trade.
Recommended for: ?Construction, ?corporate, ?energy, ?environmental and planning law, ?food law, ?insolvency and restructuring, ?IT, ?M&A, ?private equity and venture capital, ?public procurement, ?state aid law. Constitutional law, distribution and franchising, employment, press law, project development and plant construction, real estate, transport law.
Lawyers in Germany: 117
International network: Independent firm with various (nonexclusive) international connections, incl. to US firms. Member of the State Capital Global and Cicero networks. Frequent cooperation with other European firms. Office in Shanghai.
Developments: With its clear strategy and streamlined cost structures, GvW is now viewed as an interesting alternative to large firms by some very notable clients. But strengthening fields away from the signature practices still remains a challenge. Laterals no doubt offer potential, like those in Munich. The arrival of the Gronefeld lawyers not only expanded the firm’s regulatory expertise, they could also help the office (which lags somewhat behind in the overall picture) to gain weight in the local market, provided that they are integrated quickly and smoothly. GvW has shown in the past that it is capable of doing this: young partner Dr. Ritesh Rajani, who came from Latham & Watkins a few years ago, played a pivotal role in developing the M&A practice. A look at competitor Luther would also be worthwhile with regard to the public sector. This firm proved yet again how well-connected laterals can drive business development: a new arrival in public law quickly secured Luther market share in central fields like grid expansion and the nuclear phase-out.
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Graf von Westphalen Partnerschaftsgesellschaft10117 Berlin
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