Gleiss Lutz started life as an antitrust boutique in Stuttgart in 1949. Thirteen years later, the firm opened in Brussels and over the next two decades evolved from a competition boutique to a full-service firm.
- People in Who’s Who:
- Pending cases as counsel:
- Value of pending counsel work:
- US$150 billion
- Treaty cases:
- Current arbitrator appointments:
- 8 (of which 1 is as sole or chair)
- No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
The 1990s saw some international offices and an association with Herbert Smith and Stibbe, which has recently been dissolved.
The firm’s international arbitration name developed after the arrival in 1983 of Gerhard Wegen, who established the group alongside Stephan Wilske. The arbitration team – which can at times include as many as six partners – is highly regarded in the German market. As well as the full gamut of commercial work, it has the distinction of being the first German law firm to bring an investment treaty claim. Partner Stefan Rützel in Frankfurt heads the dispute resolution practice. Andreas Rittstieg in Hamburg is another name to know.
Gleiss Lutz is in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich and Stuttgart. Outside Germany, there are offices in Budapest, Brussels, Prague and Warsaw.
Who uses it?
Adem Dogan (a poultry-farm entrepreneur), the DAX Company and various energy companies are all clients. Stefan Rützel is representing a large European financial institution in a rare ICC arbitration concerning non-performing loans.
The team recently negotiated a highly favourable settlement for a leading European energy company in a gas pricing arbitration recently.
The arbitration group expanded further this year with the hire of Andreas Heuser, a New Zealand-qualified solicitor and barrister and former assistant to German arbitrator Karl-Heinz Böckstiegel. It has also fostered talent within the firm: January 2011 saw Lars Markert and Stephan Meyer appointed associated partners.
The group was pleased to take on a second case on behalf of a German investor against a Yugoslavian successor state; it is now preparing the registration of the request for arbitration with ICSID. The team has also been lined up to represent a German investor against a North African state in ICSID proceedings – should the BIT-mandated “cooling off” period expire without a settlement.
Meanwhile, Stephan Wilske was surprised, on one of his matters as an arbitrator, to find a famously “missing person” stood before him – in what he describes as one of the high points of his year.
Wilske was chairing a DIS arbitration between a Cayman Islands company and a listed German technology company. The witness, a famous hedge fund founder, had disappeared three years earlier after a series of blow-ups and alleged frauds. His whereabouts are – for obvious reasons – officially unknown, but to the surprise of all, he appeared at the hearing. Wilske explains that his turn as a witness was conducted “in a very clandestine fashion, accompanied by bodyguards and with secured escape routes”.
In addition, Wilske has been busy preparing a book proposal with a colleague from Freshfields on the topic of ‘Guerilla Arbitration Tactics” – a term he coined.