Firm profile: Greenfort

Frankfurt-based Greenfort was launched on 1 April to offer medium-sized companies and financial investors an alternative source for obtaining legal advice.

Founding partners:

Andreas von Oppen, Carsten Angersbach, Daniel Roeder and Gunther Weiss
Total number of partners: Four
Main practice areas: Corporate
Number of offices: One
Location: Frankfurt

Frankfurt-based Greenfort was launched on 1 April to offer medium-sized companies and financial investors an alternative source for obtaining legal advice.

The firm was the brainchild of former Hengeler Mueller associate Andreas von Oppen and former Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer associates Carsten Angersbach, Daniel Roeder and Gunther Weiss.

Commenting on their decision to quit Hengeler and Freshfields, Angersbach says: “We weren’t dissatisfied with our old firms, but we wanted to launch our own business so we can decide which direction the firm should take.”

Its founders claim that Greenfort will be able to provide advice that is more personal and at the same time reasonably priced. Angersbach argues that the firm can achieve this because of its size. “We believe we can offer personal advice if we run a small entity, so our aim is to be a boutique offering high-quality specialist advice,” he explains.

Angersbach declines to comment on how Greenfort’s hourly rates will compare with those charged by other German firms, but he argues that the firm will be much more flexible in its structuring of fee arrangements.

Greenfort will focus initially on corporate, commercial and corporate finance law advice. All four partners have spent several years advising on cross-border M&A work.

Angersbach’s credentials boast a role advising Barilla on the public takeover of Kamps, including the subsequent restructuring and squeezing out; he also acted for Liberty Media on its broadband and cable deal with Deutsche Telekom.

Weiss, who joined Freshfields in 2000 from US firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, played a major role in advising on the acquisition of Deutscher Herold Versicherungsgruppe from Deutsche Bank by Zurich Financial Services and acted in a lead role on behalf of Barilla/ Kamps on the sale of Dan Cake Group.

Roeder, who joined Freshfields in 2001, has advised on a range of national and cross-border M&A deals, including advising SCA on the acquisition of the Stabernack Group. Roeder also has experience in advising on a major arbitration. Von Oppen has advised MG Technologies on the sale of Dynamit Nobel and BorgWarner when it took over Beru.

Although there are just four lawyers at Greenfort, the firm is hoping to grow by adding a tax and employment law capability. Angersbach says it is important to expand into these practice areas as they will complement the firm’s corporate offering.

Greenfort’s strategy to close the gap between the big international firms and the smaller domestic German practices appears persuasive. But Greenfort must also close the inevitable credibility gap between established and start-up firms.

Founding partners: Andreas von Oppen, Carsten Angersbach, Daniel Roeder and Gunther Weiss

Total number of partners: Four

Main practice area: Corporate

Number of offices: One

Location: Frankfurt