Beiten Burkhardt

Beiten Burkhardt has taken a philosophical stance regarding its international strategy. “We can’t be everywhere,” says corporate partner Jack Schiffer. With a total of 15 offices – seven in Germany and eight abroad – the firm has made a good start since it was first established 16 years ago.

Beiten Burkhardt” />Turnover (2005): €83.2m (£58.1m) worldwide; €70.1m (£49m) for Germany
Managing partner: Frank Obermann
Total number of lawyers: 301 (216 in Germany, 85 in international offices)
Total number of partners: 51 (47 in Germany, four in international offices)
Total number of offices: 15
Locations: Beijing, Berlin, Brussels, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Kiev, Leipzig, Moscow, Munich, Nuremberg, Shanghai, St Petersburg, Warsaw

Beiten Burkhardt has taken a philosophical stance regarding its international strategy. “We can’t be everywhere,” says corporate partner Jack Schiffer. With a total of 15 offices – seven in Germany and eight abroad – the firm has made a good start since it was first established 16 years ago.

Beiten is the product of a 1990 merger between Munich firms Burkhardt Reissinger von Hutten, Kreuz Niebler & Mittl and Stever & Beiten. Within two years of opening the firm launched its first international office in Moscow, and while some of its peers are only now beginning to jump on the China bandwagon, Beiten wasted no time in establishing a China presence.

In 1994 the firm launched in Hong Kong, with a Beijing office opening a year later. In 2003 its Shanghai office was opened and Beiten became the only German law firm with offices in all three of China’s major commercial centres.

Asia remains important for the firm’s international strategy, about which Schiffer says: “We’re seeking to reinforce and enhance our China offices further, creating more critical mass.”

He also identifies India as an important emerging market for legal services in Europe and says the firm will look at the region more closely. Schiffer explains that the firm’s strategy has been to remain independent and have either “good” or “best friend” relationships with law firms in key jurisdictions. It prides itself on being one of the relatively few remaining independent commercial German law firms.

“By choosing the most suitable firm and the firm that we have the best working relationship with, we believe we can offer our clients services for any kind of cross-border transaction,” Schiffer states.

In the UK Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) shares Beiten’s affections with Dickinson Dees and Maclay Murray & Spens. BLP’s US ally Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel joins Dorsey & Whitney, Sidley Austin Brown & Wood and Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz as a best US friend.

The firm posted a record turnover for 2005, with revenue up by 20 per cent. Its turnover grew to ?83.2m (£58.1m), from 2004’s ?69.2m (£48.3m). Revenue per lawyer also increased, rising by 12 per cent to ?405,000 (£282,800) from ?362,000 (£252,800). Revenue per partner rose by 13 per cent to ?1.8m (£1.3m) from ?1.6m (£1.1m).

The firm is divided into five main practice areas: corporate, labour law, IP/IT/media, real estate law and public and procurement law. By far the largest department is the corporate group, which is divided into various sub-groups and which generates the largest portion of revenue. Last year the firm’s corporate department bagged a role acting alongside Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Eversheds and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, representing Adidas on its ?3.1bn (£2.07bn) acquisition of US rival Reebok.