JUVE Law Firm of the year

Public Procurement

Tenders for the German armed forces stir up the market

It went faster than expected: a year after the amendment to the public procurement law was introduced, the need for training on the new guidelines has significantly declined. The focus has now shifted to the new law’s specific application in instructions. Following a short-lived boom in tenders before the new regulations came into play, new procurement procedures were initially seen to be gaining in momentum once again in the second half of 2016. Individual litigious matters came up here, e.g. on the correct application of the European single procurement document, which several market players believe will be resolved by the courts over the next few years.

Despite there being demand, no initiatives were set in motion recently for legal reforms in the security and defense sector. There were, however, a number of hard-fought review proceedings that appeared together with the many new, high-volume tenders associated with the German armed forces.

IT tenders brought in plenty of new business recently as contracting authorities from various industries reduced their backlog of investment projects with an eye to digitalization. Besides this, there is also a mounting need for advice on the topic of self-cleaning. The competition register, which will come into effect in 2019 and will list companies that have violated applicable regulations, could give this development fresh impetus. There is, however, heated debate among public procurement lawyers as to whether or not the competition register will be effective in achieving its purpose.

Call for closer integration within firms

Linking up with other specialist areas has long been the approach taken by procurement teams in large firms to cement their positions within those firms. This often sees them working closely together with regulatory industry specialists, e.g. in healthcare, or other legal fields such as antitrust.

More boutiques are finding their niche

At present, the market is also being penetrated by boutiques. They may not be able to offer their clients the same full-service approach, but they can provide them with highly specialized expertise. They only work with other firms when necessary, which means they can maintain their streamlined cost structure. No wonder then that new public procurement boutiques recently opened, following in the footsteps of the Freshfields spin-off Blomstein, e.g. Esch Bahner Lisch, whose partners broke away from Osborne Clarke. These young, flexible outfits are sought after by all kinds of clients.

A wide range of players such as Hogan Lovells, Heussen and, with an impressive presence on behalf of the German armed forces’ procurement office (Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support, BAAINBw), Koblenz-based firm KDU Krist Deller & Partner benefited from the rise in procurement procedures in the lucrative security and defense sector.

In the continuously growing field of IT procurement, firms known for their IT competence such as Bird & Bird, Beiten Burkhardt and Graf von Westphalen are doing well.


Firms which are active in public procurement issues for contracting authorities and/or bidders are dealt with in this chapter. Many lawyers have a background in the construction industry, where public procurement has traditionally played an important role in contracts for public authorities. Others derive their expertise from a specialization in public law or in certain regulated sectors, especially the water/waste sector. Useful chapters for further reading include ?real estate, ?construction, ?environmental and planning law as well as ?regulated industries.

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