Latham & Watkins

No other firm hit the headlines last year quite so often as Latham & Watkins. The reputations of several of the PE lawyers preceded them. Now stable and with real clout, the practice has become the main challenger to Hengeler Mueller and Freshfields. The large-cap team around Oliver Felsenstein consolidated the relationship to Permira in the takeover battle for Stada and similarly impressive was his work on a series of deals for CVC. Meanwhile Dr. Hans-Jürgen Lütt remains one of the leading lawyers for BC Partners. In the mid-cap market the firm has a broader footing: Burc Hesse has become one of the most illustrious players in the Munich market. Other partners have demonstrated that they are capable of landing new clients, e.g. IK Investment in Hamburg. In Frankfurt the firm has an up-and-coming partner in Gregor Klenk.
Although the renowned Dr. Rainer Traugott was mainly seen advising on strategic M&A deals of late (incl. several for Siemens), Latham & Watkins is now the yardstick against which US firms measure themselves in private equity. What should give competitors food for thought, however, is the fact that the German team have not yet fully exploited the possibilities provided by US clients such as Carlyle. There is still considerable potential here.
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