The ?Justitia? sculpture at the former Imperial Chamber Court in Wetzlar. (Image: Ralf A. Niggemann)
The “Justitia” sculpture at the former Imperial Chamber Court in Wetzlar. (Image: Ralf A. Niggemann)

Wetzlar Network

The Law-It-Alls

Questions of the law are not always pleasant – and often not easy to understand. Luckily, there are experts among the members of the network who know exactly who is right or who will be proven right in which case.

In last year’s series of courses “Die Rechthaber” (“The Law-It-Alls”), legal topics were exchanged and discussed in a relaxed atmosphere. It soon became clear: It is essential also for small and medium-sized companies to be prepared for all “cases”.

Highly specialized lawyers and tax consultants

What exactly does a law firm do? The answer is almost as difficult as legal practice itself because the duties of a law firm with its many certified specialist lawyers (or solicitors) and lawyer-notaries are manifold. This is not necessarily due to the nature of things but rather to their complexity. “I always say: We do everything but nuclear licensing procedures,” Dr. Matthias Menger, lawyer and notary at Unützer Wagner Werding (UWW) says with an amused smiled. The Wetzlar law firm considers itself to be a “full service provider”. With currently 24 lawyers, among them twenty specialized lawyers and two lawyer notaries, five insolvency administrators and five tax consultants, UWW covers a broad range of juridical topics and can deal with almost every legal problem in a qualified way.

This is what matters, Menger explains: “Our clients can either contact a variety of highly specialized lawyers and tax consultants directly or get in touch with the colleagues who have the corresponding know-how through their personal contact partner.” UWW puts the emphasis on counseling and representation of companies. Corresponding to the spectrum of the local economy, their clients are for the most part small and medium-sized companies. And one thing holds true for all of them: “Successful work begins by getting us on board early on. For it makes perfect sense to call in experienced law and tax consultants during the preliminary stages of negotiations, e.g. in case of a corporate transaction. It doesn’t pay to wait until the negotiations are purportedly concluded and all that is left to be done is drawing up a contract.“ The cooperation with clients is thus very intense and extends over a long period of time, not only in important matters. And in urgent cases, things have to be done quickly. That’s when short communication lines become a key advantage – especially for small and medium-sized companies (KMU).

Industry-specific and technological expertise

Under ideal conditions, the law firm is the “external legal department” of a company supporting its clients in word and deed in any situation. Dr. Götz Gerlach of law firm Kleymann Karpenstein & Partner (KKP) agrees. In his lecture as one of the “Law-It-Alls”, he spoke about “On the Right Side and on the Left Side of the Law”. But that doesn’t mean he knows only two directions. Thanks to his specialization as certified lawyer for commercial and company law as well as for employment law, he possesses a kind of 360-degree-view. With 17 accredited professionals, among them eleven specialized lawyers and three lawyer-notaries, the nationwide active office KKP enjoys a good reputation in the region of Central Hessen on account of their high specialization. “Industry-specific and technological expertise are crucial for us,” Gerlach points out. “We are, for instance, the only law firm in Central Hessen which has three certified lawyers for information technology law at its disposal and is in a position to accompany the increasing digitalization with regard to legal aspects.”

Many companies are in uncharted waters when it comes to Industry 4.0 which is more and more about digital interconnection of data and often sensitive information. Not only in respect of technology but also when legal issues are concerned. And this affects not only major corporations but also medium-sized and small companies. The same applies to the implementation of functional Compliance Management Systems (CMS) for the prevention and detection of violations of the law. Such systems should already be a standard in medium-sized companies, Gerlach says: “In addition to introducing CMS in medium-sized companies and detecting compliance violations we assist companies in specifying and implementing the required measures, such as the Code of Conduct or regulations for Sales and IT, and above all in training their staff.”

Consolidated professional competence

Dr. Dieter Lefèvre, co-founder of law firm Wörner Schäfer Rückert (WSR), has been a lawyer since 1976 and a civil-law notary since 1987. One might call him an “old-timer” in the most positive sense of the word. For one can hardly assess the worth of experience when it comes to practicing consultancy. Decades of occupation have gifted him with an unerring instinct for the right legal decision which he still contributes to his law firm WSR where ten lawyers, four of them lawyer notaries, are occupied. No lawyer could say of himself he was “omnipotent”, Lefèvre points out. That was exactly the reason for pooling the professional expertise of several male and female colleagues by founding a law firm in 1995. A formula for success: This broad base enables WSR to lend their support to the local economy and to private persons in every conceivable aspect of the law.

One key area the law firm focuses on is the full spectrum of notary duties. Apart from digitalization and globalization in production and sales, issues concerning employment law are a permanent topic for domestic industries. Although depending on economic trends, they are important for small market participants in particular. Developing and formulating succession plans is more topical than ever because the transition from the founders to the next generation is looming in many medium-sized family-run enterprises. “All the more important that as a lawyer and notary, one manages to work out a solution for succession which is satisfactory for all parties involved and to secure the legal side of it,” Lefèvre explains. And he adds: “Sometimes, this touches upon emotions and sensitivities. But in the end, the same applies to all our work. Because it is only on paper that we are dealing with cases and paragraphs. In reality, there are always people involved. And that is what makes our job so incredibly fascinating.”

 

LEGAL ADVICE


Kleymann, Karpenstein & Partner mbB (KKP)
www.kleymann.com

Unützer Wagner Werding (UWW)
www.kanzlei-uww.de

Wörner Schäfer Rückert (WSR)
www.wsr-net.de