global network clearly does not mean that a domestic
firm is incapable of handling multi-country deals.
‘Germany was and is one of the most important legal
markets in continental Europe and an important bridgehead to the Eastern European economies.
Independence is valued in these markets. Clients value
the teaming-up of international independent law firms
which provides for a collection of the leading law firms
in their respective jurisdictions. This combined with our
partner-driven concept is a perfect basis for a cross-border solution’.
There is little doubt that in a legal market like
Germany, where spin-off boutiques are growing in popularity and have the expertise necessary for even the
most complex deals, the question of resources is still an
issue for the biggest clients. This is where the independent firms and the global players are really set apart,
says Heidbrink. ‘The competition is particularly obvious
in those practice areas that are less resource-intensive
and/or require more experience or grey hair. An example for the former is commercial litigation – this practice
area is much less resource-intensive in Germany than it
is in the U.S. as we have no pre-trial discovery’.
Heidbrink goes on to claim that clients appreciate
the ‘efficiency that is defined by competitive fee struc-
tures and rates; flexibility; the absence of over-lawyering
and responsiveness at partner level’ but does acknowl-
edge that there are some deals in the biggest areas
where clients require the resources offered by the
largest players. ‘Billion-Euro M&A deals are and will
always be the domain of the large international firms,
including domestic firms with an international network
of best friends’.
60 | Summer 2011 | americanlawyer.com/focuseurope
City of Munich with the Alps in the background.