chapter  5
23 Pages

German corporate lawyers: social closure in autopoietic perspective

Corporate lawyers have benefited from recent political and legal changes in the unified Germany and in Europe more than other groups amongst German lawyers. They gained both in size and in strength by playing a significant part in the marketization and privatization processes of the former GDR economy. They also gained from changes in the regulation of the German legal profession. The recent reforms of legal services, which are a result of European legal harmonization as well as national legislative, judicial and professional efforts, have led to some relaxation of the strict professional rules concerning the organization of the law firm and the specialization of lawyers. These reforms enabled German corporate law firms to achieve strategic advantages within the German legal profession. The leading firms are now able to participate in international competition over legal services for multinational corporations, banks or insurance com­ panies. They also engage in interdisciplinary rivalry with auditors and other professions. Indeed, corporate lawyers have become a distinct group within the German legal profession.