The roots of BRANDI Lawyers go back to the late 19th century, when the first office opened in 1895 in Bielefeld. Today, we assist clients from six national and two international offices in all areas of commercial law with a focus on small and medium-sized companies. Even though our firm has grown steadily over the years, we are by no means a law factory – neither in how we define ourselves, nor in how we approach our work.
In its current form, the firm originates from a merger in the early 1990s, when established local firms joined forces, setting up one of Germany's first supra-regional law firms. Since then, the firm's development has been swift, but always well-planned: The national offices in Minden and Hanover allowed for extending the regional focus to the North, the cooperation office in China was set up in 2007.
In the last ten years, the number of lawyers has nearly doubled because of this development, allowing our firm to advise clients with the level of specialization required in today's world. This is reflected in the increasing number of specialist lawyers and notaries in the firm. However, in order to remain a medium-sized law firm with efficient structures and a low turnover of actors, we have kept our growth under control.
In 2009, we were furthermore involved in setting up the "Pangea Net", a network of independent small- and medium-sized law firms from around the globe who have joined forces in order to ensure that clients are getting high-quality legal services – like the kind you are used to from us – in other countries as well.
The law never ceases to evolve – and consequently, lawyers and law firms must likewise keep working on their specializations and development. Therefore, we have stepped up our game, especially in the last five years, and developed new specializations. By now, the firm has become a full-service provider in all areas of commercial law, with numerous specialists working together in regional specialist groups. Furthermore, our multi-office firm has operated as a limited partnership (Partnerschaft mit beschränkter Berufshaftung) since 2014.
Our clients are international, and so are we. Today, one out of two small or medium-sized companies engages in business activities abroad – and we are right there beside them. Marriages between citizens of two countries are no rare occurrence. Just like our clients and our clients' business, BRANDI does not stop at the national border.
This is reflected in the qualifications of our lawyers, as well as in our international relationships.
At our Gütersloh office, we have four specialist attorneys for international business law – a rarity throughout Germany. They are not merely able to conduct negotiations in English, but they communicate in English on a daily basis. We are fully fluent in legal English, the lingua franca in international business transactions, and will both draft and negotiate your contracts in English. Some of our lawyers are admitted to the bar in other countries (USA, UK, Greece).
We always keep an eye on the cross-border consequences of your actions. If the other contracting party is a foreign company, if the trademark is to be used outside Germany, if a marriage or succession involves foreign elements, then German law is no longer applicable at all or only partially applicable. Foreign law can render contracts ineffective or unenforceable, legal proceedings abroad cannot be compared with those in Germany, and the same applies to arbitration proceedings. We know these cases and are able to help.
In addition to knowing the language and the law, we can also draw on a network of foreign law firms that has grown organically over decades. We are a founding member of Pangea Net, an international network of law firms, and have been a board member since its foundation. Moreover, we have special relationships with cooperating law firms in Paris and Beijing.
Pangea Net is a network of independent law firms from more than 25 countries. Members are small and medium-sized corporate law firms with a focus on dealing with cross-border issues. They provide a broad range of services in the field of commercial law, including in the areas of corporate law, M&A, investment law, international trade, banking law, tax law, antitrust law, intellectual property, IT, technology transfer, labor and employment law, construction law, real estate law, environmental law, and public law.
Unlike other loose-knit networks that merely share a logo, the members of Pangea Net cooperate very closely; the lawyers of the member firms and their counterparts at BRANDI have known each other in person for years, in some instances even for decades. This ensures highly qualified advisory services in Germany and abroad, and moreover reduces the potential for inefficiencies which typically arises when working on cross-border matters. Matters that reach these foreign firms via BRANDI are not treated as involving “one-off” customers – even if only one matter ends up being handled. And if difficulties do arise, we are always ready to provide advice and assistance to help resolve any issue.
The network partners in Pangea Net are selected through a stringent process, based on their expertise, the quality of their attorney services, and their specialization regarding the needs of international small and medium-sized clients. Annual conferences and international practice groups provide for active exchanges, with specialists from certain fields of law getting together.
In addition to the membership in the network Pangea Net, we maintain very close relationships with our cooperation offices in France and China. We have been working with our cooperation partner Wenner & Cie in Paris for several decades, offering on-site advisory services in German in all major fields of law. In China, a country which poses significant legal and cultural challenges, we collaborate with the lawyers at Grandall, a large regional firm, which allows us to advise clients in several Chinese cities on areas such as contract design (distribution law), corporate and investment law, as well as trademark and licensing law, and thus help them minimize their legal risks. In a country where legal measures are often used as a last resort, we also discuss entrepreneurial approaches and measures for risk management in China.