Close connections cleverly used

But a large number of midsized firms being internationally active and developing sizeable expertise in cross-border issues such as joint ventures has been a particular feature of the German legal market for years. Examples include Kapellmann und Partner and GSK Stockmann. With the rise in investments from China – be it in joint ventures, subsidiary startups or small acquisitions – Mittelstand-focused firms like Hoffmann Liebs Fritsch & Partner and Graf von Westphalen have established active China practices.

But some firms could soon be turning their attentions to their direct neighbor, France. German-French connections are being given a huge political push at present. If this carries over into the economy, it will ultimately impact the setups of law firms. Though they can reach nowhere near the relevance of transatlantic connections (due to the size of the US market if nothing else), they may present firms with worthwhile opportunities. This is already true in the patents scene: large firms like Hogan Lovells, Bird & Bird and Jones Day, as well as numerous specialist firms like Hoyng ROKH Monegier, are already preparing for the launch of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) in Paris. Continental Europe can and must seize the opportunity to strengthen cooperation at all levels.

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