Oppenhoff & Partner

Comment: Oppenhoff’s year began with a turning point: firm founder Michael Oppenhoff handed over the role of firm spokesperson to employment partner Dr. Gilbert Wurth. And with M&A partner Myriam Schilling taking up a seat on the management committee, the firm showed how it is executing the generation change.
It should still be a while before competitors no longer associate O&P primarily with the names of senior partners like Dr. Dr. Georg Maier-Reimer or Michael Abels. But the fact that corporates like Deutsche Post, Evonik or, most recently, Burda entrust the firm with transactions and that Schilling is always at the forefront of these shows how the up-and-coming partner generation has earned a good reputation with clients.
Corporate and transactions are still the main pillars of the firm. But the year’s highlights also include an instruction on the interface of employment and data-protection-related compliance: work for the US monitor of VW. In the field of compliance esp., Oppenhoff is managing to feed corporate advice to other areas thanks to a strong internal network.
Cologne still predominates, while the Frankfurt office has witnessed more checkered times. Antitrust and state aid law partner Dr. Andrés Martin-Ehlers frequently advises Lufthansa, but initial hopes that the office would act as a gateway to the financial center through stock corporation law and capital markets expertise have not been fulfilled in the five years since the launch. When the office head turned his back on the firm last year, competitors were skeptical of whether the office had any future at all. But now Oppenhoff has welcomed M&A partners Dr. Markus Rasner and Till Liebau as well as employment partner Anja Dombrowsky (from Graf von Westphalen), who immediately closed a major deal (SGL Group on the sale of a division to Triton).
See also: ?Cologne.
Lawyers in Germany: 59
International network: Strong international contacts to befriended firms that are leading independent players in their respective countries. The firm deliberately foregoes a best-friend principle or formal network.
Developments: The Frankfurt trio could give the office, which originally launched with a different specialty, a new direction and help to raise its profile in the market.
The market is only slowly registering that O&P is actively driving the generation change. The names of the senior partners come to mind first for many competitors. This may also be because O&P is still cultivating its traditional face, despite the partnership rejuvenation. Success will thus now hinge on whether and in what direction the new management pushes development. The generation change will only be a long-term success if young partners too are given the chance to modify the firm culture in their interest.
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