Comment: This Ruhr Valley firm is making headway in expanding its work, chiefly thanks to the remarkable development of its corporate practice. The traditionally solid notary office delivers follow-on work almost as a matter of course, and feeds top-class clients to other practices, e.g. Innogy. But Kümmerlein showed its attacking spirit away from notary work too: in classic corporate and transactions it is increasingly the younger partners displaying client-getting skills. Litigation for Deutsche Lufthansa (public knowledge) is one of many examples. It is thus no surprise that these young partners are the ones driving compliance in the firm. Before now compliance was the domain of specialist disciplines like antitrust, environmental and planning law or IT, but now the corporate lawyers are increasingly involved in internal investigations, compliance breaches and the introduction of compliance systems.
It was evident in the renowned environmental and planning law practice how Kümmerlein emulates its fiercest competitor Aulinger when it comes to the nationwide positioning of specialist practices, esp. in the regulated industries. The firm is regularly active in matters related to mining, water and emissions law. It is a different picture in employment: although the lawyers still advise top-class clients, e.g. Essen Association of German Red Cross Nurses and Ruhrland hospital in precedent proceedings under the German Act on Temporary Employment, the year was characterized by staff unrest. The associate base was halved – an unusual development for a firm generally seen as very sturdy.
Recommended for: ?Corporate, ?environmental and planning law, ?M&A. Employment.
Lawyers in Germany: 47
International network: Independent firm which regularly cooperates with foreign law firms. Particularly close cooperation with the British firm Burges Salmon. In addition: US, Milan, Paris and Warsaw.
Developments: Banking on a mix of large-firm laterals and home-grown talent when building its partnership has proven a success for Kümmerlein. The corporate practice, where young lawyers are shaping the successful development, is a prime example. Kümmerlein also knows where to make adjustments when it comes to recruiting young talent. Its involvement in a career event with two other midsized firms means that Kümmerlein is often talked about by young lawyers as a serious career alternative to large firms. The firm also adapted its career levels accordingly: associates with at least five years of professional experience will be able to achieve counsel status in the future. The rejection of the previous strict up-or-out principle could prove a strategically clever move – esp. given how local competitors are still lagging behind when it comes to offering alternative career tracks.
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