Hengeler, Freshfields keep tight grip on DAX 30 companies

Germany’s corporate powerhouses have maintained their stranglehold over clients in the DAX 30, the German equivalent of the FTSE 100.

Hengeler Mueller dominates the table, produced by German legal magazine Juve (click here to view table), acting as corporate adviser to 14 of the DAX 30 over the past 18 months, while Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer claims 13 DAX 30 corporate clients.

The tables depict firms that have advised DAX 30 clients over the past 18 months. The work considered was limited to ongoing corporate advice, M&A and advice on AGMs, but also finance work, where the firm advises the issuer in a capital markets transaction or the borrower on a lending transaction.

Hengeler Mueller counted Adidas-Salomon among its DAX 30 clients after it advised the sporting goods giant on last year’s €400m (£271.8m) convertible note issue.

A surprise came in the strong performance of Clifford Chance, which claims 11 of the DAX 30, demonstrating the success with which the firm’s corporate practice has leveraged off its finance expertise.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has capitalised on its capital markets strengths to claim five of the DAX 30 as corporate issuer clients. For example, Cleary started its relationship with Deutsche Telekom through capital markets transactions, but now counts it among its corporate clients. Among its standout transactions over the past 18 months, it advised Deutsche Postbank on its IPO.

The tables show that for blue-chip corporate work, Linklaters still has some way to go to challenge the stranglehold of Freshfields and Hengeler.

Notable by their absence from the table are CMS Hasche Sigle and White & Case. However, the importance of DAX 30 clients should not be overstated.

DAX companies are renowned for their large in-house legal teams and their reticence about outsourcing legal work. BMW, for example, does not appear in the table. With a vast legal team, the motor company does the bulk of its legal work itself. It is the Mittelstand, comprising the mid-sized privately held companies at the core of the German economy, that remains the key source of corporate work for law firms in Germany.

Click here to view table: ‘Law firms representing Dax 30 clients’