Insight

An Interview With Walter Uebelhoer of Allen & Overy, 2019 "Law Firm of the Year" Award-Winner for Banking Law in Germany

Best Lawyers CEO Phillip Greer in conversation with the leading attorney at the Allen & Overy, a 2019 "Law Firm of the Year" winner.

LFOTY Q&A With Walter Uebelhoer
Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers

August 23, 2018 11:10 AM

Walter Uebelhoer, of 2019 German “Law Firm of the Year” award-winning firm Allen & Overy, says he began his work in banking and finance law by accident—or perhaps a stroke of good luck. In an interview with Best Lawyers CEO Phillip Greer, Uebelhoer discusses the trends he sees in the banking sector, the global rise of the “Schuldschein,” his notable cases, and the anticipated impact of legal technology in the field.

Phillip Greer: What achievements from this past year do you feel led to your winning “Law Firm of the Year” in banking?

Walter Uebelhoer: We entered into a new generation of leadership this year, while still keeping our top clients, top mandates, and top instructions. There were originally three partners that set up the banking part of the firm in Germany in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Of those, one has retired, one is still with us, and one has moved on, so now it’s really the next generation that has to pull the wagon and represent the firm. Despite that big shift, our clients are focused on the team we have now and I think we managed to really stay on top of the market. This sort of shift in leadership is always a challenge but we have managed it quite well.

Can you tell me about one or two landmark cases you’ve handled from this past year or the last couple of years?

One was helping Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (a multi-billion dollar company) set up new and independent financing from its predecessor companies, Siemens and Gamesa. As for my colleagues, Thomas Neubaum and Bianca Engelmann definitely stand out. They successfully completed the merger financing between Hapag-Lloyd and UASC, which was one of the most prominent mergers in the shipping scene. Also, my restructuring partners Peter Hoegen and Bernhard Herding have had prominent roles with Kathrein, which was a big group of international companies that needed restructuring. Finally, I would like to point out our real estate finance practice, which is represented by Olaf Meisen, who financed the acquisition of 85 real estate properties for Patrizia. He was also on the financier side for a $1.7 billion acquisition financing of OfficeFirst by Blackstone—that’s the biggest acquisition of commercial real estate in the last 10 years in Europe.

Are there any trends or changes you witnessed within the banking sector in recent years? How do you see those playing out in the near future?

The rise of debt funds in the acquisition finance space has made a big impact. A flood of debt funds started doing business in Germany—we now have about 80 active debt funds providing acquisition finance in a number of different structures. These have cut out a significant piece of the banks business in the leveraged finance space. I also think that banks will be under pressure to consolidate in Europe, particularly if the low-interest period will continue for a few years. I expect we'll have fewer and stronger banks emerging from the current situation who will then compete head-on with these debt funds.

Another development that's notable is the rise of the German “Schuldschein,” which was an investment grade corporate loan and is traditionally not more than 10 or 15 pages long. The Schuldschein has become quite prominent, and issuers now range from pretty much everywhere in Europe. People are investing from anywhere in the world. There's still a majority of German-speaking issuers and investors, but this market has enlarged quite significantly over the last few years.

The other development that will shape interactions with banks and lawyers is the rise of legal tech. Automation will continue to grow. A driver of this will also be the war for talent. Law firms generally struggle with finding sufficient talent in the top bracket. The pool is just, structurally, not big enough to satisfy every law firm's needs, so law firms will face capacity constraints and that will continue to drive automation.

Is there anything else that you'd like to share about your firm or practice area?

I think what makes this firm stand out is its spirit. There are close personal relationships and shared goals amongst all the people in this firm. The partners are working together globally—so instead of many similar franchises in various countries, it's one very homogeneous firm, all across the globe. This is something that our clients value and that makes people stay with us. It makes them proud to be part of it.


Related Articles

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

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

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

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers in Colombia™


by Best Lawyers

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

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers in Colombia™

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers in South Africa™


by Best Lawyers

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

Announcing 2022 Best Lawyers in South Africa

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Austria


by Best Lawyers

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

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Austria

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Switzerland


by Best Lawyers

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

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Switzerl

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

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Russia


by Best Lawyers

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

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Russia

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Australia


by Best Lawyers

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

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Australi

The 2021 Best Lawyers in Canada


by Best Lawyers

Featuring the top legal talent in Canada.

Best Lawyers Canada 2021 Homepage Image

Announcing the 2021 Best Lawyers in Portugal


by Best Lawyers

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

2021 Best Lawyers in Portugal

Announcing the 2021 Best Lawyers in Spain


by Best Lawyers

Featuring the nation's top 2 percent of practicing lawyers.

2021 Best Lawyers in Spain

2021 Best Lawyers International


by Best Lawyers

Featuring the top legal talent from around the globe.

Best Lawyers International 2021

Trending Articles

The 2024 Best Lawyers in Spain™


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is honored to announce the 16th edition of The Best Lawyers in Spain™ and the third edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Spain™ for 2024.

Tall buildings and rushing traffic against clouds and sun in sky

Presenting The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2025


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is proud to present The Best Lawyers in Australia for 2025, marking the 17th consecutive year of Best Lawyers awards in Australia.

Australia flag over outline of country

Best Lawyers Expands Chilean 2024 Awards


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is pleased to announce the 14th edition of The Best Lawyers in Chile™ and the inaugural edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Chile™, honoring the top lawyers and firms conferred on by their Chilean peers.

Landscape of city in Chile

Best Lawyers Expands 2024 Brazilian Awards


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is honored to announce the 14th edition of The Best Lawyers in Brazil™ and the first edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Brazil™.

Image of Brazil city and water from sky

Announcing The Best Lawyers in South Africa™ 2024


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is excited to announce the landmark 15th edition of The Best Lawyers in South Africa™ for 2024, including the exclusive "Law Firm of the Year" awards.

Sky view of South Africa town and waterways

The Best Lawyers in Mexico Celebrates a Milestone Year


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is excited to announce the 15th edition of The Best Lawyers in Mexico™ and the second edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Mexico™ for 2024.

Sky view of Mexico city scape

How Palworld Is Testing the Limits of Nintendo’s Legal Power


by Gregory Sirico

Many are calling the new game Palworld “Pokémon GO with guns,” noting the games striking similarities. Experts speculate how Nintendo could take legal action.

Animated figures with guns stand on top of creatures

The Best Lawyers in Portugal™ 2024


by Best Lawyers

The 2024 awards for Portugal include the 14th edition of The Best Lawyers in Portugal™ and 2nd edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Portugal™.

City and beach with green water and blue sky

The Best Lawyers in Peru™ 2024


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is excited to announce the landmark 10th edition of The Best Lawyers in Peru, the prestigious award recognizing the country's lop legal talent.

Landscape of Peru city with cliffside and ocean

How To Find A Pro Bono Lawyer


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers dives into the vital role pro bono lawyers play in ensuring access to justice for all and the transformative impact they have on communities.

Hands joined around a table with phone, paper, pen and glasses

Presenting the 2024 Best Lawyers Family Law Legal Guide


by Best Lawyers

The 2024 Best Lawyers Family Law Legal Guide is now live and includes recognitions for all Best Lawyers family law awards. Read below and explore the legal guide.

Man entering home and hugging two children in doorway

The Best Lawyers in Colombia™ 2024


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is honored to announce the 14th edition of The Best Lawyers in Colombia™ for 2024, which honors Colombia's most esteemed lawyers and law firms.

Cityscape of Colombia with blue cloudy sky above

Announcing the 2024 Best Lawyers in Puerto Rico™


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is proud to announce the 11th edition of The Best Lawyers in Puerto Rico™, honoring the top lawyers and firms across the country for 2024.

View of Puerto Rico city from the ocean

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Japan™ 2025


by Best Lawyers

For a milestone 15th edition, Best Lawyers is proud to announce The Best Lawyers in Japan.

Japan flag over outline of country

Announcing The Best Lawyers in New Zealand™ 2025 Awards


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is announcing the 16th edition of The Best Lawyers in New Zealand for 2025, including individual Best Lawyers and "Lawyer of the Year" awards.

New Zealand flag over image of country outline

Canada Makes First Foray Into AI Regulation


by Sara Collin

As Artificial Intelligence continues to rise in use and popularity, many countries are working to ensure proper regulation. Canada has just made its first foray into AI regulation.

People standing in front of large, green pixelated image of buildings