Workshop on German Civil Procedure for U.S. Litigation Lawyers

Know and effectively use the tools of German Civil Procedure

Due to Brexit, many international businesses shift their focus from Britain to Germany when it comes to contract drafting in general and jurisdiction clauses in particular (see brochure “Contracts in Continental Law“). Why? As long as Britain was still a member of the EU, many German, Austrian and other continental European CEO’s were willing to accept English law as well as the jurisdiction of English courts. This was often a compromise reached in the negotiations between the contract lawyers of the U.S. and the German parties.

Those days are over. After Brexit, European Union law does no longer apply in Britain, which makes it pretty much unacceptable for the German (Austrian, French etc) side to accept English law as the governing law for the business relationship.  Instead, the contract lawyers of businesses located in continental European countries insist more and more on their domestic substantive and procedural laws to apply. Therefore, United States law firms that work internationally will be increasingly confronted with cross-border civil and commercial litigation cases that take place in Germany or Austria.

Bootcamp for practicing U.S. attorneys and in-house lawyers

Our 2 day seminar “How to litigate in Germany” introduces United States trial lawyers to the very different world of German civil procedure. The focus is on making non-German litigators aware of the many differences compared to a U.S. civil lawsuit, thus enabling them to effectively collaborate with the German trial lawyers in an international U.S.-German civil case.

Experienced German litigator Bernhard Schmeilzl cuts right to the chase: No boring lectures on theoretical isues, but hands-on practical advice on how to win civil lawsuits in Germany. Including some tips and tricks on how to unnerve your adversary by “being American on purpose”, for example by naturally applying certain U.S. procedural tools and tactics which, normally, are not used in a German lawsuit (written witness statements or even video depositions). If smartly used, such an approach can somewhat unhinge the opponent.

Who is the workshop for?

United States lawyers who wish to advise their U.S. clients with business ties to Europe on the basics of how to litigate in Germany (and Austria). U.S. law firms that provide legal advice to German business clients in order to understand their German client’s expectations with regard to litigation and arbitration. United States lawyers who are dealing with international litigation and who strive to better understand the tactics and  strategies in a German civil case. American legal scholars with an interest in the practical side of German civil litigation.

What does the workshop cover?

The key topics we explain and discuss in our German civil procedure workshops for United States litigators are:

  • How and when to bring civil action before a German court of law?
  • What German court to address. Does the plaintiff have a choice of forum?
  • How to stop the clock on German limitation
  • Dos and don’ts of German civil procedure
  • How to draft written pleadings
  • What is permitted witness preparation and what is illegal witness tampering in Germany?
  • The role of experts in German civil lawsuits
  • How to prepare and conduct the oral hearing in a German courtroom
  • When to consider a settlement: timing and strategy
  • Interim relief and appeals under German CPR
  • Legal cost in Germany

The workshop is specifically targeted at U.S. litigation lawyers. Thus, we cover many issues that are particularly important for German-American lawsuits, for example:

  • How to handle the language issue: does everything need to be translated into German?
  • Do witnesses who live in the USA have to travel to Germany to make a witness statement? Can U.S. citizens be forced to appear in a German court of law?
  • Can a U.S. lawyer appear and represent a client in German court? At least as co-counsel?
  • Be the American in the German courtroom: How to smartly use U.S. procedural tools (discovery, depositions) against a German adversary
  • non-legal strategies to use against the opposing party in a German-American litigation case

The seminar can be conducted as an in-house workshop at your law firm in the USA. Alternatively, U.S. lawyers can participate in our seminars in Germany which usually take place in the summer. Do not hesitate to ask for dates and rates.

If your law firm plans to establish a German desk at one of your offices, we also assist with finding qualified German lawyers who speak perfect English, have a basic understanding of the differences between the U.S. and continental European legal systems and who are willing to work in the USA. Graf Legal has advised a number of United States law firms with the setting up of a German desk.

For legal advice on German civil procedure and how to successfully litigate in Germany, contact the international litigation experts and trial lawyers at GrafLegal.

Copyright & Disclaimer All posts are copyrighted material. This blog is made available by Graf & Partners for educational purposes as well as to give you general information on German law, not to provide specific legal advice. Simply reading this blog does, of course, not result in any attorney client relationship between you and Graf & Partners. The blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice provided by a licensed professional attorney in a specific legal matter.