Law firm for startups in Hamburg Germany
Advice for founders, employees and investors in Germany
Our certified specialists, attorneys and tax advisors advise founders, investors and companies in Hamburg Germany - from start-up to financing and all questions of company management to exit.
An overview of our services for startups in Germany
Classic startup topics actually run through all legal areas of german business law - after all, these are basically young entrepreneurs who need to be just as trained in many areas of the law as medium-sized or large entrepreneurs in Germany - albeit often with a different focus and different problems.
When it comes to the need for legal advice that arises among founders of startups in Germany, it often makes sense to make a decision based on the respective phase and progress of the startup:
- In the initial startup phase, it is often a matter of drafting the necessary founding documents and writing up internal agreements among the parties involved.
- Once this has been clarified, the second phase is usually about financing and the respective conditions of investors.
- Alongside this, but increasingly after funding has been obtained, the focus then often shifts to corporate management: employees need to be hired and german startups in particular often have to deal with participation agreements such as ESOPs and VSOPs. In addition, issues of data protection, german IT/IP law and german tax law are part of the day-to-day operations.
- Finally, all startups in Germany sooner or later deal with a possible exit, i.e. the sale of the company as a whole or in parts, or a possible IPO.
Our certified specialists, attorneys and tax advisors are able to advise and support at all stages due to effective teamwork and a wide range of knowledge and experience, and our team in Hamburg easily harmonizes with our other offices in Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich and Cologne.
Foundation and financing - Topics in german corporate law
Our lawyers and certified specialists for german corporate law advise and support start-ups and investors in the following areas
- Company formations, from GbRs to GmbHs to stock corporations ("Kleine AG")
- Start-up financing (venture capital, growth capital) through equity capital, convertible loans, dormant partner's interests
- Financing rounds (seed, Series A, B, C, D), including drafting and negotiation of participation agreements / shareholder agreements
- Employee participation (employee stock ownership, management participation, real participation ESOP, virtual participation VSOP, vesting)
- Preparation and execution of exits
- Formation of investment vehicles
Our lawyers and certified specialists do not shy away from contentious disputes in startups and provide advice and support in the following cases
- Disputes in startups between founding shareholders and investors
- Disputes among founding shareholders
- Disputes among investors (lenders, venture capitalists, VC investors, growth capitalists)
- Enforcement and defense of claims arising from management contracts, investment agreements and participation agreements
- Complex shareholder resolutions and shareholder meetings
- Exclusion and termination of managing directors and shareholders
Employees & Managers: Services in german labor law
Our lawyers and certified specialists advise and support start-ups and investors all over Germany in the following areas
- Drafting, reviewing and terminating management contracts according to german corporate law
- Drafting of employment contracts according to german labor law
- Conception and design of alternative employment relationships
- Advice on employee shareholdings, employee share ownership programs (investment company, ESOP, VSOP)
- Representation in the event of termination, actions for protection against dismissal, termination agreements/contracts
Media, IT/IP and Data Privacy & Competition under german law
Our lawyers and certified specialists advise and assist startups and investors in Germany on
- Protection of IP, trade secrets and know-how, including non-disclosure agreements NDAs
- Trademarks, design, licenses and industrial property rights
- Data protection compliant design of all business transactions (especially DSGVO)
- Outsourcing and digitalization, especially Software as a Service (SaaS) models
- Agile software development contracts, including care and maintenance contracts and service level agreements (SLA)
- German competition law, warning letters and defense against warning letters in cases of anti-competitive behavior
Taxes in Germany: Services of our tax advisors & certified specialists for german tax law
We advise and assist with
- Tax structuring of investment vehicles and holding companies in Germany
- Company valuation
- Optimization of taxation under german tax law
- Cross-border tax issues
- Ongoing tax advice (accounting, annual financial statements)
T&C (AGB), franchise and distribution: operational business in Germany
Our lawyers and certified specialists advise and assist german startups and investors on
- Contracts of the operational business
- Supply contracts, general terms and conditions
- Distribution contracts, especially franchises, classic commercial agency contracts
FAQ lawyer for startups in Berlin
When do startups, founders and shareholders need a lawyer in Germany?
Startups, founders and shareholders in Germany should consult a lawyer at the latest (!) when expert advice is required:
- For contracts which, due to their complexity, cannot simply be "read down",
- When it comes to particularly serious decisions, e.g. when shareholders, new shareholders and investors join or leave the german company
- When agreements, contracts are used several times, e.g. employment contracts, employee participation or data protection declarations
- When the gut feeling says so
Our experience shows that often the way to a lawyer is shied away due to cost reasons. However, experience also shows that this usually becomes even more expensive.
Can legal fees be tax deductible in Germany?
Yes, under german tax law, a startup's legal fees are usually tax deductible as a business expense if the legal advice was provided in the "business interest". But shareholders can also usually deduct legal fees for tax purposes if they are related to their investment in Germany. Although the deduction cannot be made immediately, it can be made at the latest upon sale/exit. And an employee's legal fees are also deductible as income-related expenses if they are incurred in connection with a matter relating to german employment law.
How many lawyers for startups in Germany are there in Hamburg?
The Hamburg Bar Association has over 11,000 members. Unfortunately, the statistics do not show how many of them also or exclusively handle mandates in german corporate law and, in particular, in the german startup sector. However, the statistics do show that only less than 1 percent of the lawyers in the capital of Germany are allowed to call themselves certified specialists for german corporate law (more precisely certified specialists for german commercial and corporate law). Note: The figures refer to 01.01.2021.