Strong growth of the commercial law firm Schalast
At the turn of the year 2020/2021, the Frankfurt-based commercial law firm Schalast took another major step in its growth path. The firm opened new offices in Duesseldorf and Stuttgart, expanded its offices in Berlin and Hamburg, and added a tax team. This brings the number of professionals working at the firm's five offices to more than 75. Schalast is thus one of the 60 largest law firms in Germany.
In Hamburg, a tax law team around Dr. Oliver von Schweinitz moved from LPA-GGV to Schalast. The team led by Oliver von Schweinitz, who is also admitted to practice as an Attorney at Law in New York and as a tax advisor, advises numerous financial institutions in connection with tax law issues, inter alia, at the interface with US tax law and on questions of banking tax law. On the other hand, it deals with the support of transactions from a tax perspective. The team around Oliver von Schweinitz includes, among others, the experienced experts Cordula Clarner and Katharina Stuth. Oliver von Schweinitz joined Schalast as an equity partner. In addition to the tax team, two more experienced partners moved to Schalast's Hamburg office on January 1, 2021. Dr. Christoph T. Thies supports the employment law team led by Clemens Schalast. Dr. Thies, who is a specialist attorney for employment law, joined Schalast from the Hamburg employment law boutique Ruge Krömer and has particular expertise in the insurance industry, retail and hospitals/health care. In corporate law, Schalast brought in corporate lawyer Dr. Markus Schuback from Hansalawyers, who strengthens the corporate/M&A team not least with his litigation expertise.
Schalast will further strengthen its Berlin office as of January 1, 2021 with the addition of attorneys Tom Braegelmann as Partner and Annick Fuchs as Special Counsel. Braegelmann, who is also admitted to practice as an Attorney at Law in New York, joined Schalast from the Berlin office of BBL Bernsau & Brockdorf and will build up the Restructuring practice area, which is linked to the Banking & Finance practice group on the one hand and Corporate/M&A on the other. In addition to Braegelmann, Annick Fuchs joins Schalast, where she will also work at the interface of the practice groups Corporate/M&A and Banking & Finance. In addition to her admission in Germany, Annick Fuchs is also admitted to practice as an Attorney at Law in California. Before joining Schalast and a station at Freshfields, she worked for several years for Paypal as Head of Legal - first in Germany but then also in the USA. She mainly focuses on advising start-ups, primarily in the tech and payment sectors, supporting both start-ups and investors.
Schalast opened its fourth office in Duesseldorf on January 1, 2021. The SKW Schwarz team there led by Managing Partner Andreas Seidel moved completely to Schalast. Andreas Seidel will enrich the Corporate/M&A practice group with his many years of experience in the planning of major projects. Dr. Michael Berghaus, who has already worked closely with Schalast on a data center project in the past, strengthens the Real Estate practice. Jan Schneider joins the cross-location IT/IP practice. All three are partners at Schalast. They are currently joined by an associate. In addition, Dr. Karsten Schaudinn joined Schalast on January 1, 2021. Schaudinn joined Schalast's Banking & Finance Practice Group and will strengthen it with a great deal of experience in the area of public law banking and litigation.
Schalast opened its fifth office in Stuttgart on January 1, 2021. The main part of the Derpa Bender Sigler office there around Wolfgang Sigler and Dr. Niklas J. Schreiner decided to take this step in order to be able to offer their clients an even broader range of individual and international expertise with a "full service" approach. The two office heads support as partners - as in Hamburg Dr. Markus Schuback - the Schalast Corporate/M&A team, which is headed by Gregor Wedell. Their focus is on medium-sized clients, particularly in the electrical industry, machine tool manufacturing, electrical engineering and automotive and media sectors. In addition to Wolfgang Sigler and Dr. Niklas J. Schreiner, Prof. Joachim Ritter von Strobl-Albeg and Christian Ritter von Strobl-Albeg also moved to Schalast's Stuttgart office.
In Frankfurt am Main, Schalast has strengthened its antitrust practice with the hire of Prof. Dr. Michael Saller as Special Counsel. Furthermore, Alexander Gebhard has been appointed Equity Partner with effect from January 1, 2021. Alexander Gebhard is part of the team led by practice group head Prof. Dr. Andreas Walter and primarily advises credit institutions and payment service providers in connection with financial market regulatory issues, including formation and acquisition proceedings, but also has particular expertise in supporting FinTech companies.
Prof. Dr. Christoph Schalast explains the firm's growth strategy: "In the last two/three years, we have done a lot of homework. We have created a platform and structures that allow us to operate on an equal footing with large law firms. But more importantly, we have also reassured ourselves of the values we stand for. We grow with partners who share these values, we grow in balance, for which flat hierarchies, agility, true work-life balance, freedom for issues besides our profession without neglecting it, clear orientation towards the interests and goals of our clients and legal excellence stand."
Schalast has been growing continuously since 2017. A first important step was the opening of the office in Hamburg as well as the acquisition of CLARIUS.LEGAL as a LegalTech and Legal Project Provider. The current growth follows a clear strategy. In Berlin, the goal is to consistently further expand central topics such as LegalTech, restructuring, also in connection with NPL, as well as VC/startup consulting but also a Berlin-typical sector expertise (tech, bio, healthcare, payment, etc.). The new tax team completes the full service offering, especially in the areas of banking and finance as well as corporate/M&A, but also covers new topics. The growth will often be achieved with colleagues who have been associated with the firm for many years. Dr. Oliver von Schweinitz and Prof. Dr. Christoph Schalast have known each other for more than ten years from NPL transactions, the new Stuttgart team has a long shared advisory history with the head of the M&A/Corporate practice Gregor Wedell, and the contacts with Tom Braegelmann in connection with LegalTech topics also go back a long way. Dr. Markus Schuback and Hamburg partner Dr. Roland Arlt know each other from their joint work for Paul Hastings in Frankfurt am Main.