Comment: This leading firm for employment put in a continued strong performance. The sheer size of the practice alone commands competitors’ respect. CMS maintains the balance between the freedom of individual lawyers and consistent management, as well as covering specialist fields like restructuring and compliance in interoffice and interdisciplinary teams. To continue offering this diversity (cost-) efficiently, CMS is opting for standardization and the use of technical aids, unlike most competitors. Given the German Act on Temporary Employment reform, the tool developed by the practice for the deployment of external staff was a sought-after service and opened the door to further contacts in corporates, where CMS already has a good name. Compared to the firm’s vast expertise in restructuring, its profile in advice on company pensions is relatively weak; competitors with smaller teams such as Freshfields and Allen & Overy are further ahead.
Strengths: Broad setup, extensive interoffice advice to high-profile client base.
Development potential: Like the Big Four, CMS increasingly banks on the pull of its brand and, more consistently than competitors, is moving away from a person-based approach to advice. This qualifies CMS for high-volume work, which it lands through pitches. But the fact that high-end restructuring work like that for VW in connection with the emissions affair still stems from the excellent contacts and reputations of partners like Gaul shows that the path taken is not without risk.
Recommended: Prof. Dr. Björn Gaul (“on my wavelength, adaptable, authoritative, but listens carefully”, client), Dr. Eckhard Schmid (“strong negotiator and target-driven”, “very good expertise, pleasant”, competitors), Dr. Claudia Rid, Martina Hidalgo (“very good expertise, pleasant”, competitor), Dr. Achim Lindemann, Dr. Antje-Kathrin Uhl (“pragmatic approach”, competitor), Bernd Roock, Jürgen Siemers, Dr. Gerlind Wisskirchen, Yvonne Wolfgramm (“solution-oriented, pleasant peer in advice to employers”, competitor), Dr. Björn Otto, Thomas Glaesmann (“experienced peer”, competitor), Dr. Werner Walk, Dr. Oliver Simon (“good negotiator with a specialty in company pensions”, competitor), Dr. Nina Hartmann (“works very accurately and swiftly, inspires confidence”, competitor).
Practice: Traditional, extensive practice focusing on advice to (municipal) companies ( ?insolvency and restructuring, strategic reorganization, mergers, collective bargaining) and covering a broad spectrum of sectors with numerous well-known regular clients. Expertise in the field of management boards and managers (on the side of companies, less frequently managers). Transactional advice, insolvency-related employment, company pensions, pay arrangements, ?compliance and (employee) data protection. (29 partners, 11 counsel, 50 associates, 1 of counsel)
Clients: ?? Audi and VW management board regarding emissions affair; Coherent on acquisition of Rofin-Sinar; China Railway Construction on entering German market; all-round advice to E.on concerning group demerger; Cura concerning chief physician contracts.
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