Comment: While there was repeated turbulence in previous years – largely because of the rapid change of management – under the banner of acting managing partner Dr. Andreas Meissner quiet but solid progress is noticeable. The development of higher quality and more productive work is the firm’s goal. It will only be able to achieve this by scrutinizing elements of its existing activity. For firms with a broad advisory spectrum like TW, this is often a structural challenge: on the one hand TW is known for midsized and Mittelstand-oriented deals, but on the other is among the absolute market leaders in trademark and design law and advises major clients like Google as part of its technology focus.
But the results of the management efforts can now be seen in the market. The improvements in Frankfurt and Berlin, two offices that were still works in progress last year, are truly remarkable. Just a few years ago, a closure of the Frankfurt office appeared more likely than even a small step forward. It is thus all the more impressive that TW has now achieved the necessary growth in banking and finance. With determination, the firm seized on the opportunity presented by the end of King & Wood Mallesons and achieved solid market visibility with the arrival of Sabine Schomaker’s finance team in no time at all. Lateral Michael Sinhart joined from Hogan Lovells, providing a logical addition on the interface between M&A and the healthcare sector. Even skeptics are likely to have been convinced when the work of partner team Dr. Lars-Gerrit Lüßmann and Christoph Vaupel for Hessen Ministry of Economics in the (ultimately cancelled) merger of Deutsche Börse and the London Stock Exchange was announced. Such first-rate, typical Frankfurt instructions prove that patience in practice development is paying off, as TW has now taken up its position in the competitive market.
Following a dry spell, Berlin also put in an impressive performance with its VC practice, which displayed its full strength for the first time and – besides being given a boost by TMT specialists from other offices – built on the Silicon Valley connection with strong West Coast investors like Balderton and Trinity Ventures.
The Düsseldorf office, which is already considered the model for successful change, grew its energy practice in response to the loss of an energy team to Baker in Berlin last year.
The rise in interoffice and interdisciplinary cooperation is clearly to the credit of management, who also made some adjustments to the pay system for this purpose. This not only fosters young partners, but also leads to a rise in referrals and teamwork. In comparison with competitors, these steps were long overdue.
Lawyers in Germany: 332
International network: International firm with offices in the UK, a number of European cities and Dubai. Strong China practice with own offices, most recently in Hong Kong, and cooperation with HM Chan & Co. Active in Singapore as RHT Law Taylor Wessing and in Austria as enwc Taylor Wessing. Long-standing contacts with US firms, esp. on the West Coast. Representative offices in New York and Palo Alto. Active Brazil desk. Cooperation with AlSulaim AlAwaji & Partners in Saudi Arabia.
Developments: The improvements in the German practice are not merely an end in themselves: at a firm like TW, they must occur with further international steps in mind. Having made considerable improvements in the cooperation with the London office last year, and now expanding Frankfurt, TW will now have to position itself more effectively as an advisor for issues related to Brexit.
The successful China connection has already been recognized and is among the firm’s assets that it can build on. But there are other tasks that TW must address in the coming years to exploit the potential offered by its large international network. Although the firm has German lawyers at its US office in Palo Alto, and the media and IT practices as well as the Berlin VC team are increasingly making use of this connection, the question of TW’s direction in the US as a whole remains unanswered for many other practices.
TW is a firm where the individual practices are still travelling at different speeds. A logical course of action would thus be to leverage more potential from corporate through the firm’s strengths in the media, technology and healthcare sectors.
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