Comment: No losses, no laterals, no new offices, but the usual high-end instructions. This continuity is characteristic of this firm specializing in all facets of public law. Notable clients like Vattenfall, Bayer HealthCare and regular work for the German federal government in matters of political relevance shape the firm’s reputation. What is remarkable moreover is how RSD has managed to establish a new, promising partner generation in recent years that clients frequently praise for its “superb expertise”. As well as criminal law, this was the case in betting and gaming law with Dr. Marco Rietdorf and in environmental and planning law with Dr. Frank Fellenberg. The steady appointment of counsel and partners is indicative of healthy business development and controlled growth, but also of the development of young talent going according to plan.
The successful development was also due to strong interdisciplinary and interoffice cooperation, which work exceptionally well despite the fact that RSD is not managed centrally following a large-firm model. The main reason for this is the partners’ clear focus on the public sector. White collar crime is a prime example for the continuing integration: the compliance group set up here is reeling in work related to environmental, media and tax criminal law. The corporate practice also enjoys a strong network, led by the renowned Dr. Jürgen Lüders from Munich and Bonn. RSD recently triggered development in data protection law, which harbors further potential for synergies.
Strengths: ?Construction, ?environmental and planning law. Constitutional law, transport law.
Recommended for: ?Antitrust, ?compliance audits and investigations, ?corporate, ?energy, ?M&A, ?media, ?public procurement (incl. PPP), ?state aid law, ?white collar crime and tax criminal law. Press law, project development and plant construction.
See also: ?Berlin, ?Rheinland, ?Sachsen.
Lawyers in Germany: 95
International network: Independent firm which maintains informal links with similar US firms. A strategic alliance with the British firm Bond Dickinson has been in place since 2014; it is now bearing fruit in various practices, esp. corporate.
Developments: In recent years, RSD further institutionalized parts of its management. This includes an internal strategy development commission, which addresses matters related to careers, guiding principles and firm organization. A more central management system that defines clear guidelines and devises formal objectives is, on the other hand, still contested internally. The firm does have a three-person management committee selected by the partners, but this devotes its attention solely to acute administrative tasks and not the strategic coordination of the practices or business development.
It is a similar story when it comes to the issue of internationalization. Here too, RSD operates without a formal strategy. The corporate practice benefits first and foremost from cooperation with British firm Bond Dickinson. In other fields the firm is steered more by the current market circumstances. One example is the Europeanization of environmental and planning law, where complex planning proceedings have a cross-border character more often than they did a few years ago.
To survive in the increasingly competitive market environment, RSD will not be able to rely solely on its excellent reputation in public law. It will have to find a strategy – both for national and international work – to define its role in the market clearly and to develop its work sustainably on these foundations. Other top-flight practices, like Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and White & Case, have done this already: they are focusing more on cross-border instructions, e.g. in the context of the diesel scandal.
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