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The Firm  History

The history of Schilling, Zutt & Anschütz

»The plan to become an independent law firm again in particular led to enthusiastic reactions - not least because the name SZA brings back nostalgic memories in many competitors.«

JUVE Handbook Commercial Law Firms

The roots of Schilling, Zutt & Anschütz reach back more than 100 years. The first generation of partners included such notable jurists as Heinrich Kronstein, Wilhelm Zutt and Karl Geiler some of whom already advised on noteworthy mergers, such as the merger of Daimler and Benz, during the «golden twenties» and advised on major antitrust issues. They shaped the theory and practice of modern commercial and corporate law in Germany like few others.

The Founders

Heinrich Kronstein (1897-1972): Together with Wilhelm Zutt, Heinrich Kronstein founded the law firm Kronstein Zutt in 1931. After his emigration to the United States, he worked in the claims division of the US Department of Justice at first, later in its antitrust division. In these functions, he was involved in the rebuidling of Europe and the administration of third party assets. Since 1946, Kronstein taught as a professor at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. and since 1956/57 served as professor in ordinary for commercial and corporate law at the University of Frankfurt.

Wilhelm Zutt (1890-1962): Before Wilhelm Zutt began practicing as an attorney in 1931, he was corporate counsel for Rheinische Creditbank. In 1945, he was a member of the provincial government of Mittelrhein-Saar – and was responsible for commerce, railways, road traffic and shipping. Furthermore, the military administration named him speaker of the Mannheim attorneys. In the 50s and early 60s, Zutt was a member of numerous supervisory boards (inter alia at Deutsche Bank).

Karl Geiler (1878-1953): Karl Geiler practiced as an attorney in Mannheim since 1904. He acted as co-founder of the Mannheim commercial college, the forerunner of today's University of Mannheim, where he also worked as a lecturer for trade, commercial and tax law. From 1921 to 1939, he taught at the University of Heidelberg as a private lecturer at first, later as honorary professor, until he was deposed from his office by the National Socialists. He returned to the University of Heidelberg as professor in ordinary for international law and became its rector in 1948/49. In 1946, the American military administration appointed Geiler as the first prime minister of the newly founded state of Hesse.

Wolfgang Schilling (1908-1992): After completing his studies in Munich, Vienna, Berlin and Heidelberg, Wolfgang Schilling joined the firm founded by Zutt and Kronstein. In the following decades, he gained high esteem in the scholarly realm and in legal practice as documented by his contributions to various supervisory and administrative boards. Upon request by Max Hachenburg, who had emigrated, Wolfgang Schilling took over the former's important commentary on German limited liability companies law (GmbH-Gesetz). Furthermore, until 1962, he was a member of the expert commission on the reform of limited liability companies law and in 1972 was engaged in the German Department of Justice's expert commission on corporate law. The University of Heidelberg appointed him honorary professor for corporate law in 1968.

»An attorney can only be a good advisor to a company if he is at the same time an adviser to the people behind it.«
Heinrich Kronstein

After the war

In the decades after the end of World War II, the number of attorneys and prominent clients increased steadily. Since the late 1950s,  Wolfgang Schilling represented Friedrich Flick in the litigation against the latter's son Otto-Ernst Flick. Also, large enterprises such as Korf Stahl, Ciba-Geigy, Freudenberg, Deutsche Bank and HeidelbergCement trusted the legal and economical expertise of Schilling, Zutt & Anschütz. We assisted Daimler-Benz in the foundation of DASA and debis as well as the demerger of the automobile and truck production unto the newly founded Mercedes Benz AG.

The nineties: Expansions and mergers

In the years between 1990 and 2000, the circle of partners expanded. In the early 1990s, the firm also expanded geographically, opening new offices in Frankfurt a.M. and in Dresden. In East Germany, the firm advised the Trust Agency (Treuhandanstalt) over a longer period. The merger of Daimler-Benz AG and Chrysler Corp. into DaimlerChrysler AG was decisively influenced by attorneys of the firm as well. The firm also assisted Daimler in the merger obetween Dasa, Aerospatialé and Casa, forming EADS.

American intermezzo and "declaration of independence"

In 2000, the firm merged with the US law firm Shearman & Sterling LLP. SZA Schilling, Zutt & Anschütz Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft was born on May 1, 2008 out of the Mannheim Office of Shearman & Sterling LLP. All founding partners are former partners or attorneys of Schilling, Zutt & Anschütz, continuing the great tradition and ensuring that clients may also continue to demand the highest quality legal advice.

Since then, the firm has expanded further. In summer 2010, the firm opened a second office in Frankfurt, setting the course for future growth. In 2013 a third office in Brussels was inaugurated. Finally, in 2019 a fourth office in Munich was opened.