Our founders and alumni
Our founders were outstanding lawyers who advanced the development of the law and played a decisive role in forming. At the same time, they were personalities who still shape the spirit of SZA Schilling, Zutt & Anschütz today.
Ernst Bassermann first made a name for himself as a defense lawyer in the law firm of Franz Heinrich von Feder (1822-1887), who had defended the March Revolutionary Karl Blind, among others. In 1900, he founded a law firm in Mannheim with his former trainee lawyer Anton Lindeck, which focused on commercial law matters. Bassermann came from a highly respected Baden-Palatinate merchant family and had excellent contacts in the financial sector. His father-in-law was Carl Ladenburg, the owner of the banking house W. H. Ladenburg & Söhne. Bassermann was also politically active and was one of the most important politicians of the German Empire. As parliamentary group leader of the National Liberal Party in the Reichstag and later as party leader, he influenced the domestic and foreign policy of Germany before and during the First World War. He was the rapporteur for the revision of the Commercial Code, which became necessary with the introduction of the German Civil Code (BGB), and drafted the commission report on the 1st and 2nd books.
After passing his assessor's examination in 1900, Anton Lindeck and his former instructor Ernst Bassermann established their joint law firm at Carl-Theodor-Platz in Mannheim. Lindeck belonged to a prominent Jewish family. His father, as an authorised signatory of the Ladenburg banking house, managed the assets of composer Johannes Brahms for a time, and his uncle Hermann Levi was a famous conductor in the 19th century. An important lawyer of his time, Lindeck was a member of the Provisional Economic Council of the Weimar Republic and later succeeded Max Hachenburg as chairman of the Mannheim Lawyers' Association.
Karl Geiler had been practicing law in Mannheim since 1904 and joined the firm of Ernst Bassermann and Anton Lindeck in 1909. He participated in the founding of the Mannheim Commercial College, the forerunner of today's University of Mannheim, where he taught commercial, business and tax law. From 1921 to 1939 he was first a private lecturer, then an honorary professor in Heidelberg, before the National Socialists removed him from office. In 1928, Fritz Bauer, who later became Hessian Attorney General and initiator of the Auschwitz trials, received his doctoral degree from him on a subject of economic law. In June 1947, Geiler returned to the University of Heidelberg as a full professor of international law, and was the University’s rector in 1948/49. In 1946, the American military government appointed Geiler as the first Prime Minister of the newly created state of Hesse.
Heinrich Kronstein established the firm Kronstein Zutt together with Wilhelm Zutt in Mannheim in 1928. After he could no longer practice his profession as a Jewish lawyer in 1935, he emigrated to the US with his family, where he worked first in the Claims Division of the US Department of Justice, and later in the Anti-Trust Division. In these functions, he was involved with the reconstruction of Europe and the management of enemy assets. Kronstein taught as a professor at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. from 1946 and was full professor of business law at the University of Frankfurt from 1956/57.
Wilhelm Zutt was initially in-house counsel at Rheinische Creditbank before taking up his legal practice as a partner of Heinrich Kronstein in 1928. There he advised Jewish citizens threatened by National Socialist persecution. In 1945, Wilhelm Zutt was responsible for the economy, railways, roads and shipping in the provincial government of Central Rhine-Saar. The psychoanalyst Alexander Mitscherlich, whom Zutt represented on several occasions, was also a member of this temporary government.
After studying in Munich, Vienna, Berlin and Heidelberg, Wolfgang Schilling became a partner of Wilhelm Zutt in 1935. In the following decades, he acquired a great reputation in academic circles and practice, documented also by his membership in various supervisory and administrative bodies. At the request of Max Hachenburg, who had emigrated, Wolfgang Schilling took over his important commentary on the law on limited liability companies (GmbH). He was also a member of the expert committee on the reform of the limited liability company until 1962 and was involved in the Corporate Law Commission of the Federal Ministry of Justice in 1972. The University of Heidelberg appointed him honorary professor for corporate and company law in 1968.
After studying in Heidelberg and Munich, Jürg Zutt joined the law firm that had been shaped to a great extent by his father, Wilhelm Zutt. He successfully advised large corporations as well as family-owned companies and high net worth individuals. In addition to corporate law, his areas of practice included inheritance law and intellectual property law. His academic achievements include his contributions to the major commentaries on the Limited Liability Companies Act (GmbHG) and the Commercial Code (HGB) founded by Hachenburg and Staub.
Klaus Anschütz played a key role in shaping the firm from the 1960s until the year 2000 as one of its name partners. One of his main areas of expertise was advising major family businesses, in which he sometimes also took on board functions. For example, he was chairman of the supervisory board of the Duden publishing house, Bibliografisches Institut & F.A. Brockhaus AG, for more than a decade. He also chaired the supervisory board of model railway manufacturer Märklin for many years. In addition to his work in the fields of corporate law and intellectual property law, he acquired a great reputation as an antitrust lawyer, in particular. He tapped antitrust law as a new field of activity for SZA Schilling, Zutt & Anschütz and built it into a practice group that is still very important today.
Martin Winter joined the firm in 1986 at the request of Wolfgang Schilling after working as an assistant at the institute of Peter Ulmer. After only three years, he became a partner. He established his reputation as an outstanding scholar of corporate law with his doctoral thesis "Mitgliedschaftliche Treuebindungen im GmbH-Recht" ("Loyalty obligations from membership in the law of limited liability companies") in Heidelberg, which attracted much attention in the field. Martin Winter not only handled important mandates, but was also a lawyer representative of the Permanent Deputation of the German Lawyers' Conference and a long-standing member of the Commercial Law Committee of the German Bar Association.
After retiring as a professor in 2005, Uwe Hüffer became a lawyer and Of Counsel to the firm as well as a member of SZA Schilling Zutt & Anschütz Rechtsanwalts AG.
After completing his habilitation in Heidelberg in 1975, Uwe Hüffer became a full professor at the University of Saarland before accepting an appointment at the University of Bochum in 1985, where he worked until his retirement. In addition, he was a judge in the 8th Civil Senate of the Higher Regional Court of Hamm, which is responsible for company law, among other things. The commentary on the German Stock Corporation Act, which he founded and edited up to the 10th edition, is considered the standard commentary on stock corporation law for academics and practitioners alike.
Peter Ulmer joined the firm as Of Counsel in 2001 after his retirement as a professor and admission to the bar.
After completing his habilitation with Wolfgang Hefermehl in Heidelberg, Peter Ulmer first became full professor of company law in 1969 in Hamburg and then from 1975 in Heidelberg until his retirement. Between 1991 and 1997, he served as rector of the University of Heidelberg. He gained a high reputation not only for his commentary on the law of companies under the German Civil Code (BGB) in the Munich Commentary, but also as the editor of a standard commentary on the law of general terms and conditions and of the major commentary on the Limited Liability Companies Act (GmbH-Gesetz) founded by Max Hachenburg and modernized by him. Peter Ulmer had always been closely associated with the firm and Wolfgang Schilling, in particular. He also held the office of chairman of the supervisory board of the then Rechtsanwalts AG for many years.
Stephan Harbarth joined the firm in 2000 and became a partner six years later. In 2018, he left the firm after being elected as a judge at the Federal Constitutional Court.
As a scholarship holder of the German Research Foundation, Stephan Harbarth completed his doctorate in 1998 in Heidelberg with Peter Hommelhoff on the topic of "Investor protection in public companies" and subsequently completed a Master's degree at Yale Law School. From 2009 to 2018, he was a member of the German Bundestag for the Rhine-Neckar constituency, and was Deputy Chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group since 2016. With numerous publications in corporate law, the University of Heidelberg appointed Stephan Harbarth an honorary professor in 2018. In the same year, Stephan Harbarth was appointed Vice-President and in 2020 President of the Federal Constitutional Court.