SZA Schilling, Zutt & Anschütz has been one of the leading business law firms in Germany for more than 100 years.
Empire and Weimar Republic.
On November 1, 1900, Ernst Bassermann and Anton Lindeck took up their joint practice at Carl-Theodor-Platz in Mannheim. From the outset, the firm handled demanding and high-profile mandates. In 1905, for example, they accompanied the transformation of the banking house W. H. Ladenburg & Söhne into a public limited company, the "Süddeutsche Disconto-Gesellschaft", which was to be absorbed by Deutsche Bank in 1929 as part of Disconto-Gesellschaft (Berlin).
Karl Geiler joined the partnership in 1909. After Bassermann's death in 1917, Karl Geiler and Anton Lindeck continued to run the business and advised important banks as well as major industrial companies on significant transactions during this period. Highlights included
- the establishment of I.G. Farben, the world's largest chemical and pharmaceutical company at the time (1925),
- the merger of Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft with Benz & Cie. to form DaimlerBenz AG (1926),
- the takeover of Adam Opel AG by General Motors (1929).
In 1928, another law firm was established: Heinrich Kronstein, a long-time lawyer and academic associate of Karl Geiler, joined forces with Wilhelm Zutt to practice law together. During this time, the young firm advised on the reorganization of the German wagon industry, among other things.
The law firm in the "Third Reich".
The discrimination and persecution of Jewish lawyers by the National Socialists marked a turning point not only in the history of the Mannheim legal profession.
Heinrich Kronstein, who came from a locally prominent Jewish family, felt compelled to emigrate to the United States in 1935. In the same year, his remaining partner, Wilhelm Zutt, teamed up with the then 27-year-old Wolfgang Schilling.
The partnership of Anton Lindeck and Karl Geiler also ran into difficulty, as Lindeck was exposed to considerable discrimination as a "Jewish half-breed of the first degree". Part of the partnership left the firm in 1935. Geiler initially stayed by Lindeck's side. In 1937, they, too, went their separate ways. Karl Geiler, Wilhelm Zutt and Wolfgang Schilling subsequently joined forces to form the law firm "Geiler, Zutt & Schilling". Immediately after the end of the National Socialist dictatorship, Anton Lindeck joined the firm and practiced law again.
The post-war era.
In the decades following the end of the Second World War, the number of lawyers and prominent clients of the firm increased continuously.
Since the late 1950s, Wolfgang Schilling advised Friedrich Flick in the lawsuits against his son Otto-Ernst Flick. Large companies such as Korf Stahl, Ciba-Geigy, Freudenberg, Deutsche Bank and HeidelbergCement also trusted the legal and economic expertise of Schilling, Zutt & Anschütz, as the firm was known since the early 1970s. Daimler-Benz was supported in the founding of DASA and debis as well as in the spin-off of the car and truck production into the newly founded Mercedes Benz AG.
Expansions and mergers.
In the years from 1990 to 2000, the circle of partners expanded. At the beginning of the 1990s, the firm also expanded geographically and opened new offices in Frankfurt am Main and Dresden. In East Germany, it advised the Treuhandanstalt for an extended period of time. Its lawyers also shaped the merger of Daimler-Benz AG and Chrysler Corp. to form DaimlerChrysler AG and the firm advised Daimler on the merger of Dasa, Aerospatialé and Casa to form EADS.
American intermezzo and "Declaration of Independence".
In 2000, the firm merged with US law firm Shearman & Sterling LLP. But independence has always been part of our DNA. As a consequence, SZA Schilling, Zutt & Anschütz Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft emerged from the Mannheim office of Shearman & Sterling LLP on May 1, 2008. The firm continues its great tradition, as all founding partners are former partners or lawyers of SZA Schilling, Zutt & Anschütz.
Since then, the firm has continued to grow steadily. In summer 2010, the firm opened a second office in Frankfurt. In autumn 2013, another location was opened in Brussels. In the spring of 2019, the firm opened an additional office in Munich.