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CMR München
Recht und Steuern

Law and taxes

The changes on the legal market in the last 20 years have been immense both for companies and for law offices. Increasingly international and more strongly focused, law offices are seeing rapid growth and many are progressively becoming more specialised. Company legal departments operate more like law firms and today tend to act as "legal managers", responsible for ensuring legal security in a company. This is especially true of companies in the public eye. As globalisation advances, particularly following the opening of the Asian market and the associated onslaught of competition, the need for international brand and patent strategies and their systematic implementation has become vital. Growing cost pressures are forcing even US law offices to seek ways to make cuts. And these are just a few of the rapid developments currently gripping the German legal market.

Law offices are quickly evolving into major service undertakings with special structures. The emphasis is on performance, quality, advisory skills and enterprise. The demand for top graduates has grown, but at a time when the market is not producing enough high-calibre young talents. Meanwhile, we are seeing a shift in the aspirations of graduates, for whom "work-life balance" is now the watchword. The strategic evolution of law offices is now paramount, and the development of marketing/business has grown in importance. National, European and global law office structures must now jostle with boutiques and international networks. Even the BIG 4 have expanded their legal advice divisions again, with the consequence that mid-sized units, too, are backing this business model (MDP law offices).

Legal departments have worked long and hard to earn their current status and gain acceptance in companies, morphing from "hinderers" to "creative enablers". Professional competence has been systematically upgraded. Much work has been in-sourced again. At the same time, the importance of the legal department in business operations has risen significantly and, with it, the acceptance of its role.

Risk minimisation need not involve impeding business.

Fiscal concerns are now an integral part of an economic perspective. A forward-looking approach to all legal matters, assessing their impact on the fiscal situation and vice-versa, is a must, and indeed this is now standard practice, not only in M & A projects.

This is why maximum discretion is vital when filling posts in the law and tax field, along with a profound knowledge of the market, empathy for the role of professionals, plus a wealth of experience with the structures, individual cultures and communication channels of law firms and corporations. Such knowledge and experience can only be acquired through a lasting involvement in a range of ambitious projects in this domain. An awareness of the underlying factors essential to successfully motivating and winning over a qualified partner is yet another requirement, along with the knowledge needed to eliminate possible deal breakers from the outset.