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German legal market 'is unique'

Posted by: Laurence Simons 14/01/14

Modern German society does some things better than anywhere else - football, sausages, men with ponytails and earrings. Good trains, too. But what appeal is there for legal services firms planning to open a new base in Europe?

Actually, football provides us with an interesting comparison here. Unlike England, Germany has a relatively decentralised league, with teams from across the country performing well in the top division.

Similarly, its legal market differs greatly across different cities, meaning firms have got the opportunity to choose which area would suit them best before making a move, reports the Lawyer magazine.

Hamburg, Germany's port city, is a key trading hub and has seen a number of legal openings in recent years. Gleiss Lutz, Bird & Bird, Eversheds, Norton Rose, Schultze & Braun and others have all launched offices in the city recently, highlighting the heightened interest in the German legal market.

German firm Graf von Westphalen has its largest office there - corporate partner Ritesh Rajani told the news provider that the city retains strong connections with the UK, largely because of its importance to international trade.

"We have a strong client base, with wealthy people and the small to medium-sized enterprises in northern Germany," added Mr Rajani.

Although the capital city of Berlin does not dominate the legal market in the same way that, for instance, Paris and London do in France and England, it has gained more popularity in recent years.

It has developed a reputation for innovation and technology in recent years, with Morrison & Foster launching an office there in 2013.

Morrison & Foster corporate partner Christoph Wagner argued that Berlin's emerging digital economy makes it a key location for future-focused legal companies.

"No other German city has come close to what Berlin has accomplished in the past five years. It's created an international community of investors and creative people involved in start-up businesses," he concluded.