Dr. Sebastian Naber is a specialist in employment law and as such had already worked successfully for 6 years in a secure position as principal associate at Freshfields Bruckhaus Geringer LLP in Hamburg when he decided to become entrepreneur himself and to found a law firm. The promotion and development of entrepreneurial thinking and acting at Freshfields was not entirely uninvolved in this. He used the entrepreneurial risk as an opportunity to rethink the "law firm of the future":
In January 2016, he and colleagues founded the Hamburg-based law firm Neuwerk as an associate spin-off of Freshfields and Roxin. In contrast to previous spin-offs, Neuwerk is now operating as a one-stop-shop with a broad commercial law approach and was able to strengthen itself with an additional partner at the beginning of April 2016. Neuwerk thus covers the areas of employment law, corporate law/M&A, real estate law, IP/IT, litigation and white-collar criminal law/criminal compliance (www.neuwerk.legal). In the coming years, the firm intends to continue to grow, particularly in the areas of banking & finance, public commercial law and tax law.
What have you achieved as a lawyer and why?
We all put our heart and soul into our work as lawyers and together we cover all the essential areas of business law. The basis of our professional success is above all the excellent legal training that my current partners were able to enjoy as associates at our former employer Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and at Roxin. In particular, we have not only received excellent legal training there in recent years, but entrepreneurial thinking and acting have also been considerably promoted and developed.
In our new unit, a strong partnership is very important to us: When you set up a law firm together, challenges arise that you never expected before. However, the advantage of such a founding process is that you really get to know and appreciate your partners. You are not alone, but - supported by the common idea - you support each other and find solutions. Our clients also benefit from this sense of community. Because with our orientation we specifically occupy the interfaces to other legal fields. Our clients are interested in solving a problem or in the excellent legal handling of a topic - we can offer all the legal fields required for this from one source.
To what extent was this new start a break? Did you put more emphasis on security or on risk?
The new start at Neuwerk has also made us - who were all employed lawyers before - entrepreneurs. Anyone who focuses on security and is not prepared to take entrepreneurial risk will not enjoy being self-employed. We enjoy our new role: for us, risk always means opportunity, and the freedom to take fate into our own hands.
The new start of a law firm/company always means, of course, to put the emphasis on acquisition - what is your strategy/mission statement?
Of course, we make a special effort for clients and mandates that address several of the commercial law fields we cover. We achieve this through cross-selling, but also by selectively marketing products that cover several areas of law. An example: Depending on the specific case, the topic of "know-how protection" may raise questions of corporate law or procedural law - and in other cases, IP/IT, criminal law or employment law may be more important.
Thank you very much.
Dr. Sebastian Naber is a "convinced North German": born in Bremerhaven and now a Hamburg resident by choice for almost 16 years. He heads the employment law department of Bucerius Alumni e.V. (alumni association of Buerius Law School).
His very personal tip for success: You should deal with things for which you develop a passion and which you enjoy.
(Originally published on 03.06.2016 on the former CLP-Blog JurCoach)