Insight

Easy Being Green

Markus Deutsch discusses the impact of climate change on the firm and its clients.

An Interview With Dolde Mayen & Partner
Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers

March 11, 2020 08:00 AM

This interview was conducted as part of the 2020 Edition of The Best Lawyers in Germany “Law Firm of the Year” award recognitions. Our partner Handelsblatt, also published these awards on June 27, 2019, online and in print in their June 2019 edition.

Climate policy is very much on the minds of Europeans these days—perhaps especially those in Germany, the continent’s economic colossus. Dolde Mayen & Partner, headquartered in Bonn, was named Germany’s “Law Firm of the Year” for 2020 for Environmental Law; partner Markus Deutsch sat down with Best Lawyers CEO Phillip Greer to discuss emissions agreements, client climate challenges, and why nuclear power remains (for now, anyway) a nonstarter.

How does it feel to have Dolde Mayen recognized by its peers as Germany’s 2020 “Law Firm of the Year” for Environmental Law?

Marus Deutsch: Obviously it’s quite nice, but it’s also a challenge. We’ll attempt to live up to this distinction. If you’re considered on top of the business, you have to do a lot of work well to keep the position.

The Paris Climate Agreement was a significant moment between countries to address global warming. How have companies followed their guidelines or taken steps to innovate beyond the framework?

I’m not quite sure whether the agreement has had an impact on German industry. Our clients were challenged far more by the [German government’s] nuclear-energy phase-out in 2011, which forced a lot of them to look for other business models. For example, we have, since 2011, [undertaken] a lot of planned approval procedures for new power-line quits that have forced a lot of our clients into very complicated approval procedures that take a lot of time—three to five years. These are currently more challenging than the obligations of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Has Dolde Mayen been involved in any unique cross-border partnerships that will aid in this space?

Work like this is, more or less, powered by national legislation, by EU legislation. If you require a permit for the building of a plant or for infrastructure, that’s mostly governed by national law. So we’re not very involved in cross-border transactions. We have international clients, of course, but we’re not actively looking for a cross-border relationship with other firms.

Has climate-change damage had significant effects on your clients?

It’s a very difficult issue. As I’ve said, power-supply companies have been hurt by the phasing out of nuclear energy. That means a lot of our main energy suppliers have requested compensation from the state. We’ve considered that this could happen with regard to the phase-out of coal use, which in Germany is a direct [effect] of the Paris Climate Agreement.

At the moment, though, the state is planning to compensate the power suppliers with a huge amount of money, so this will not play a major role. On the other side, the problem is that a lot of our clients—the power suppliers, for example—have to invest heavily in the national electricity grid due to the fact that we have to bring electric power produced by wind-energy plants in northern Germany to southern Germany. That’s a very heavy impact on these companies.

We’ve also seen the restructuring of power suppliers. This is mainly an effect of the additional requirements that these companies are currently facing, and I think we’ll see that in the automotive industry [as well]: stricter emissions guidelines, major production restructuring. Those have been caused not only by the Paris Agreement but have been ongoing [over] the last eight to nine years.

Some companies have been pushing for a resurgence of nuclear power. Is this even a conversation you’re having?

Not yet in the legal community, and I’m not quite sure whether this is politically feasible at the moment in Germany. You’re not very wise to discuss nuclear power plants in Germany at the moment given the political climate, and I don’t think it would [command a] majority in Parliament to reintroduce nuclear power.

How challenging has it been for your clients to adjust to the new standards being implemented?

It’s difficult to say at the moment. They have to meet very severe challenges with regard to the restructuring of the automotive industry. Once we have more electric cars, we’ll be discussing other means that will have different [effects] on the environment. For example, if you’re restructuring energy production to renewable energies like wind plants, these plants consume quite a lot of real estate. They have emissions—different emissions. They’re not very nice to look at; a lot of people don’t like them in neighborhoods, and that causes additional difficulties. The same with power lines. We’re undergoing a major restructuring of perhaps our whole society. As always with such matters, there’s a lot of room for lawsuits and legal discussions.

Are there any upcoming projects you’re particularly excited about?

We’re very heavily involved in the phasing out of the coal industry and the production of energy using coal. That means we have a lot of “open mining areas,” where you’re taking coal out of the ground and producing huge holes—kilometers long and far. These will be shut down, requiring huge planning procedures. That will keep us busy.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Related Articles

Impact of Climate Change on Real Estate Law


by Best Lawyers

Dr. Christian Schede discusses rent in large cities, the effect of Airbnb, and more.

An Interview With Greenberg Traurig

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Germany™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Germany.

Black, red and yellow stripes

A Climate Duty


by Lara Douvartzidis and Samantha Daly

Converging trends in Australia and the Netherlands: reasonable foreseeability in climate change law and other novel developments.

Climate Change Law in Australia

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Germany


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms, including our inaugural Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch recipients.

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Germany

Great Rebuild


by Best Lawyers

Néstor Méndez discusses labor peace, junk-bond repercussions, and the laudable resilience of those who call this storm-battered island home.

An Interview With Pietrantoni Méndez & Alvare

The Company They Keep


by Best Lawyers

Thomas Richter discusses the idea of corporate criminal liability.

An Interview With HammPartner

How to Advise Clients in International Arbitration and Mediation


by Best Lawyers

Karl Pörnbacher discusses how his firm stays at the forefront of advising clients.

An Interview With Hogan Lovells

This German Firm Protects Their Clients in the Face of Emerging Technologies


by Best Lawyers

Johannes Heselberger discusses theft of trade secrets, the pharmaceutical industry, and fake goods.

An Interview With Bardehle Pagenberg

The Future of German Technology


by Best Lawyers

How Germany's Law Firm of the Year in Information Technology is leading the way.

Isabell Conrad Schneider Schiffer Weihermulle

Hengeler Mueller on How German Firms Can Compete in the Global M&A Arena


by Best Lawyers

Germany's 2020 “Law Firm of the Year” honoree in Mergers and Acquisitions Law

An Interview With Hengeler Mueller

An Interview With Gleiss Lutz


by Best Lawyers

Germany's 2020 “Law Firm of the Year” in Labor and Employment Law

An Interview With Gleiss Lutz

An Interview With Latham & Watkins


by Best Lawyers

Germany's 2020 “Law Firm of the Year” honoree in Banking and Finance Law

An Interview With Latham & Watkins

An Interview With Rainer Krause of Hengeler Mueller, 2019 “Law Firm of the Year” Award Recipient for Corporate Law in Germany


by Best Lawyers

Rainer Krause discusses the unique training approaches that make Hengeler Mueller one of Germany's top firms.

Hengeler Mueller “Law Firm of the Year” Q&A

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Switzerland™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Switzerland.

Red flag with white cross

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Austria™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Austria.

Red and white stripes

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Italy™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Italy.

Green, white and red stripes

Trending Articles

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in America Honorees


by Best Lawyers

Only the top 5.3% of all practicing lawyers in the U.S. were selected by their peers for inclusion in the 29th edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.

Gold strings and dots connecting to form US map

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2023


by Best Lawyers

The third edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America™ highlights the legal talent of lawyers who have been in practice less than 10 years.

Three arrows made of lines and dots on blue background

The Best Lawyers in South Africa™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers proudly announces lawyers recognized in South Africa for 2023.

South African flag

Could Reign Supreme End with the Queen?


by Sara Collin

Canada is revisiting the notion of abolishing the monarchy after Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, but many Canadians and lawmakers are questioning if Canada could, should and would follow through.

Teacup on saucer over image of Queen's eye

Famous Songs Unprotected by Copyright Could Mean Royalties for Some


by Michael B. Fein

A guide to navigating copyright claims on famous songs.

Can I Sing "Happy Birthday" in Public?

IN PARTNERSHIP

2022: Another Banner Year


by John Fields

Block O’Toole & Murphy continues to secure some of New York’s highest results for personal injury matters.

Three men in business suits standing in office

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in Canada Honorees


by Best Lawyers

The Best Lawyers in Canada™ is entering its 17th edition for 2023. We highlight the elite lawyers awarded this year.

Red map of Canada with white lines and dots

Wage and Overtime Laws for Truck Drivers


by Greg Mansell

For truck drivers nationwide, underpayment and overtime violations are just the beginning of a long list of problems. Below we explore the wages you are entitled to but may not be receiving.

Truck Driver Wage and Overtime Laws in the US

What the Courts Say About Recording in the Classroom


by Christina Henagen Peer and Peter Zawadski

Students and parents are increasingly asking to use audio devices to record what's being said in the classroom. But is it legal? A recent ruling offer gives the answer to a question confusing parents and administrators alike.

Is It Legal for Students to Record Teachers?

The Upcycle Conundrum


by Karen Kreider Gaunt

Laudable or litigious? What you need to know about potential copyright and trademark infringement when repurposing products.

Repurposed Products and Copyright Infringemen

Thirteen Years of Excellence


by Best Lawyers

For the 13th consecutive year, “Best Law Firms” has awarded the most elite and talented law firms across the country through a thorough and trusted data review process.

Red, white and blue pipes and writing on black background

Caffeine Overload and DUI Tests


by Daniel Taylor

While it might come as a surprise, the over-consumption of caffeine could trigger a false positive on a breathalyzer test.

Can Caffeine Cause You to Fail DUI Test?

Choosing a Title Company: What a Seller Should Expect


by Roy D. Oppenheim

When it comes to choosing a title company, how much power exactly does a seller have?

Choosing the Title Company As Seller

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers® in the United States


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers listed in the 28th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® and in the 2nd Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2022.

2022 Best Lawyers Listings for United States

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Australia.

The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2023

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Germany™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Germany.

Black, red and yellow stripes