Schultze & Braun – Our company
Schultze & Braun is one of Germany’s leading law firms providing advice to distressed companies, and those who do business with such companies, on all aspects of sustainable insolvency administration. Schultze & Braun is one of the most frequently appointed insolvency administrators in Germany.
We advise clients on all aspects of restructuring, reorganisation and insolvency. Regionally, nationally and internationally. We develop perspectives for all parties – for entrepreneurs and employees, as well as for creditors and contractual partners. We also show clients how insolvency can be avoided. Naturally, we also provide business, legal and tax advice, as well as auditing services.
Schultze & Braun takes responsibility. For the companies and assets entrusted to it, and for the people involved. Our actions are guided by a sense of responsibility and a consistent commitment to finding the best solution for all parties. These values define not just the quality of our work, but also the identity that clients who work with us come to know and appreciate.
The success of Schultze & Braun can also be attributed to one other aspect of the very specific way we work: our interdisciplinary approach. In 1975, Dr Eberhard Braun founded Germany’s first interdisciplinary firm of lawyers and tax advisers with a 20-strong team. By 2020, Schultze & Braun had around 600 highly qualified and specialised employees at 40 locations across Europe. This approach works as well today as it did in the past: Teams of lawyers, auditors, tax advisers, business law specialists and businesspeople work hand in hand to provide clients with comprehensive advice on the full range of issues facing them and to offer them the best possible solution for their needs. Whatever phase they find themselves in. From our decades of experience in crisis management and insolvency administration, we know the opportunities that can emerge even in situations that appear hopeless. Our mission is to identify these opportunities, develop plans accordingly and work with our clients to implement them successfully.
As insolvency administrators in proceedings concerning companies such as FlowTex, Phoenix Kapitaldienstgesellschaft, Daewoo Germany, Rosenthal, Frankfurter Rundschau, Winterling, Fairchild Dornier, Beluga Group, Solar Millennium and Windreich, Lloyd Dynamowerke, zero Group, Wöhrl and Rohde.
As representatives of client interests in situations of financial distress and insolvency proceedings concerning companies such as Hegemann-Gruppe (P&S Werften), SolarWorld and Air Berlin Holidays.
“The experience that my colleagues and I acquired as court-appointed insolvency administrators prompted me to make use of this expertise outside of the insolvency field. Advising on reorganisation and restructuring allows us to use our knowledge and experience in the insolvency field to advise our clients wisely and effectively well before insolvency is a threat. I like to think of my colleagues from the tax, business and legal fields as “paramedics” who work together in interdisciplinary teams to provide wide-ranging advice and present comprehensive and effective solutions before insolvency can occur.”
Attorney at law and auditor Dr Eberhard Braun is co-founder of and senior partner with Schultze & Braun. For decades Dr Braun has been an influential figure in the restructuring, reorganisation and insolvency field. He has also played a significant role in shaping the German Insolvency Code.
Dr Braun is an author and editor with numerous publications to his name. One of the most important of these is the standard work “Kommentar zur Insolvenzordnung”, a commentary on the Insolvency Code, published by Verlag C.H. Beck.
For Eberhard Braun of the 2019 “Law Firm of the Year” award-winning firm Schultze & Braun, the success of the bankruptcy lawyer isn’t always found in large or flashy cases, but in what he calls the “ordinary work.” Below, he discusses his firm’s recognized restructuring and insolvency practice with Best Lawyers CEO Phillip Greer.
What achievements do you feel contributed to your 2019 "Law Firm of the Year" award?
We started the firm in 1975 and have quite a history of achievement. In 1981, I picked up my first bankruptcy case as an administrator. Since then, we’ve developed our restructuring and bankruptcy business and taken bankruptcy work all over Germany. We realized the importance of sharing costs early on. To do this most effectively, we sought to cover as many cities as possible, provided they had bankruptcy courts. We’ve since covered almost three-quarters of them, if you look at where our offices are. Certainly, our skill in achieving this size (and thus sharing costs) led to our successes in bankruptcy for the last 40 years.
Can you tell me about one or two landmark cases over the time since you started this practice and its growth that stand out as pivotal cases for you?
The Fairchild Dornier case stands out. Fairchild was an American company when it took over the aircraft builder Dornier, so the case was closely tied to the United States. When we got their bankruptcy case, we had two liquidating Chapter 11 filings in the U.S. parallel. Another landmark case was the criminal case involving FlowTex, in which someone was running a pyramid scheme; It led to the biggest fraud case we’ve ever had in Germany.
What kind of programs do you institute to guarantee success for your practicing attorneys?
The training and mentorship programs are a little bit different in Germany. From the start, our firm decided that we should educate our future administrators on our own. We hire young attorneys just graduating from university and their preparation course with the Ministry of Justice and train them for around five years. After this substantial period of training and education, these attorneys are expected to join an office or create an office of their own. If they are successful, they can start to educate the next group of new, young colleagues and continue the cycle.
In what way has technology affected this practice?
In truth, we haven’t seen a huge impact on our practice from new technologies in the way that you might think. Where technology has really made changes is in the consumer area. In the criminal area, where we focus the bulk of our work and resources, there hasn’t been much change. Of course, the instruments within the practice are growing all the time. In fraud, there are new tools for finding out how someone hides money, to give one example. But technology, for me, is not necessarily the key for future improvements.
How does your firm stay agile against competitors in this practice?
It’s a matter of attitude and a dedication to all aspects of bankruptcy law. We believe in this system. Those who don’t believe tend to fail. That’s something we’ve seen quite drastically in the last year or two, actually: Firms who had been our competition in bankruptcy went out of business after deciding they wouldn’t take so-called “ordinary” work and elected for only big cases. Personally, I think it’s wishful thinking if you believe that you can cherry-pick the size and status of your cases. You will always need to do the ordinary work of bankruptcy within the daily business that is retai l— that is the basis. There are plenty of bankruptcy firms, but there aren't many that have this same mentality and are willing to work in the same way that we do. Some firms have a broader basis and do more legal, civil law work, arbitration, or court work. We are very focused on restructuring and bankruptcy.
What else about your firm’s structure lends itself to your success?
We have an international board, which is specifically designed to support administrators in all cross-country problems. That is something about the firm that I’m very proud of. Administrators who have assets outside of Germany — in other European states or in the U.S. or Poland — might have a case where the main connection goes through France or Italy that they need help coordinating. Crucially, the costs of these departments are shared across as many offices as possible, because it’s not a service any one individual might need too frequently. This department was, in my view, a key for improving quality and sharing costs.
The second is the department where we are focusing on criminal absorbencies to trace assets to explore balance sheets which have been used to commit a crime. Then you have to think that ordinary balance sheets what someone has and you can discuss if the evaluation is correct, but in a criminal absorbency, you always need to understand the crime, to know where you need to look to investigate and to finally, hopefully, get some funds for the estate.
|1949||Gründung durch Fritz Beck als Steuerberatungskanzlei|
|1968||Steuerberater Wolfgang Schultze steigt bei der Kanzlei von Fritz Beck ein|
|1975||Dr. Eberhard Braun tritt der Kanzlei bei und gründet die erste interdisziplinäre Sozietät von Rechtsanwälten und Steuerberatern in Deutschland unter dem Namen Schultze & Braun. Die Sozietät hatte damals 20 Mitarbeiter|
|1977||Schaffung der ersten überörtlichen Standorte|
|1984||Gründung einer eigenständigen Insolvenzabteilung|
|1986||Gründung einer Abteilung für Sanierungsberatung|
|1992||Gründung der ersten Niederlassung in den neuen Bundesländern in Dresden|
|1998||Fusion mit der Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft PricewaterhouseCoopers|
|1999||Nr. 1 auf der Rangliste: Unternehmensinsolvenzen und bestellte Insolvenzverwalter|
|2003||Trennung von PriceWaterhouseCoopers|
|2004||25 Standorte deutschlandweit mit insgesamt über 500 Mitarbeiter|
|2006||Gründung der Niederlassung in London, Großbritannien|
|2007||Gründung der Niederlassung in Straßburg, Frankreich|
|2010||Gründung der Niederlassung in Paris, Frankreich|
|2013||39 Standorte in Deutschland | 3 Standorte im europäischen Ausland | 600 Mitarbeiter|
|2017||Gründung der Niederlassung in Bologna, Italien|
|2019||Gründung der Niederlassung in Mailand, Italien|
|2021||Über 40 Standorte in Deutschland und im europäischen Ausland | 600 Mitarbeiter|