Regulation & Law

Germany: the biggest legal market in Europe



According to the Federal Chamber of Lawyers, Germany has 162,695 lawyers (of which 54,139 are women), for a population of 80.62 million. These figures show that the German legal sector is the largest in the European Union. An overview of most diversified market of the Old Continent. 

Force of attraction

The economic landscape and the working practices make this market totally atypical and complex. But the country still has a lot to offer. Germany is the fourth ranking economy in the world and an innovative place leading Europe when it comes to filing for patents. Behind the U.S. Germany is the second largest research site for multinationals in the world. The European Patent Office is based in Munich and patent lawyers are positive that the long-awaited and discussed Unified Patent Court (UPC) will finally become a reality. The location of the Central European Bank in Frankfurt is further proof of Germany’s international standing.

The Hidden Champions
Little known as mid-sized companies and world leaders in their sector, the Hidden Champions account alone for 25 % of German export. The Hidden Champions concept increasingly attracts attention all over the world. In the last ten years, the 1307 German Hidden Champions created one million new jobs. They increased global market shares in spite of a bigger world market and created a massive wave of innovation. Their strategy consists in defining the market narrowly and working deeply into the value chain. Their motto: “We only do one thing, but we do it right”!

A changing environment
At a time when the deal market is regaining momentum and law firms are seeing continuously high utilization rates in compliance work and disputes, lawyers should be doing well. The strong role played by the German economy and German companies around the world in the wake of the financial crisis is leading to growing demand for law firms on an international level.
But even though the return of an animated M&A market and more public takeovers are positive signs, firms cannot entirely exult over their greater utilization rates: profiting from this in advisory work is no sure thing, because, at the same time, the competition for clients and the price pressure have risen more than ever, particularly in the mid-range market segment. This means that even busy firms cannot simply react with growth and new hires – especially as the competitive situation is being fueled by new players entering the legal advisory scene. For most firms, the financial crisis is already old history. From the long weak phase in the transaction market, many partnerships learned the lesson that restructuring and compliance advice, as well as litigation, can bring a profitable activity.


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