3 questions to smart minds

Lawyers must also coach sustainability in transactions

For this 3 questions to Dr. Peter Mailänder

Haver & Mailän­der Attor­neys at Law in Stuttgart
Photo: Dr. Peter Mailänder
27. June 2024

Small and medium-sized compa­nies that are not listed on the stock exch­ange have to make considera­ble efforts to comply with ESG regu­la­ti­ons. Often not all depart­ments are invol­ved in ESG inte­gra­tion and there is also a lack of basic under­stan­ding of the posi­tive effects of ESG compli­ance and data security.

For this 3 ques­ti­ons to Dr. Peter Mailän­der, Part­ner at Haver & Mailän­der Rechts­an­wälte in Stuttgart

1. ESG regu­la­ti­ons are often a burden for compa­nies. What role do ESG regu­la­ti­ons play in the tran­sac­tion business?

In the tran­sac­tion busi­ness, we prima­rily advise and support non-listed compa­nies. The imple­men­ta­tion effort requi­red to comply with new ESG regu­la­ti­ons is a cause for concern and the meaningful­ness of some ESG expec­ta­ti­ons is often ques­tio­ned by SMEs. You have to bring calm into it. In some respects, ESG is certainly a grue­some paper tiger, but a guide to sustainable thin­king in the company should also be reco­gni­zed as contemporary.

In the medium term, it also leads to insights, new compe­ti­tive oppor­tu­ni­ties and grea­ter target attrac­ti­ve­ness, i.e. also for finan­cing issues and for the value of the company. Many well-known inves­tors expect targets to be posi­tio­ned sustain­ably. Because we have a close and perso­nal legal rela­ti­onship with mana­ging direc­tors and share­hol­ders, often in one person, espe­ci­ally in the case of family compa­nies, we have to cata­lyze ESG issues in the early phase of an acqui­si­tion process — i.e. explain what is important and what is not — and also coach what is necessary.

2. What role do data protec­tion and data secu­rity play in tran­sac­tions today?

We simply have to be vigi­lant when it comes to data protec­tion. The protec­tion of perso­nal and company data plays a parti­cu­larly important role in the due dili­gence process. Howe­ver, it is also chal­len­ging for the acqui­ring company to comply with all rele­vant regu­la­ti­ons when addres­sing busi­ness custo­mers when imple­men­ting the tran­sac­tion, parti­cu­larly in the case of an asset deal. If, for exam­ple, the trans­fer of custo­mer data is part of the tran­sac­tion, as a lawyer you have to do a lot to promote a good under­stan­ding of EU data protec­tion rules, espe­ci­ally with inves­tors from other EU countries.

We are very well posi­tio­ned when it comes to data secu­rity. Of course, commu­ni­ca­tion between lawyer and client must be free of obsta­cles, but as soon as confi­den­tial infor­ma­tion is trans­mit­ted, it’s “safety first”. To this end, we have employed a quali­fied compu­ter scien­tist for our IT depart­ment, who has brought us and all our proces­ses up to date and is constantly poin­ting out new deve­lo­p­ments. Data secu­rity is a top prio­rity for us.

3. Haver & Mailän­der is cele­bra­ting its 60th anni­ver­sary next year. How does the team need to change? Is Gene­ra­tion Z making itself felt?

We are heading towards the third gene­ra­tion. Mr. Haver and my father foun­ded the firm 60 years ago. We are now 60 years young, and our average age is actually much youn­ger than old. Fort­u­na­tely, our law firm is on the radar of young lawy­ers. We receive many excel­lent appli­ca­ti­ons and are spoi­led for choice. Gene­ra­tion Z is highly moti­va­ted here! Of course, the workload and envi­ron­ment is diffe­rent today than it was 25 years ago, but almost ever­y­thing is different.

We are well posi­tio­ned, the ambi­tious young profes­sio­nals quickly find their consul­ting niches, e.g. I recently lear­ned a lot about the pitfalls of digi­tal trans­for­ma­tion or tran­sac­tions with medi­cal device compa­nies. And I think that our approach of only hiring young colle­agues who we believe are capa­ble of making the leap into part­ner­ship and invol­ving young colle­agues in the work of our clients at an early stage, directly and respon­si­bly, is in keeping with the times. In any case, thanks to the quality of our young team, we seem to be on the right track here.


About Dr. Peter Mailänder

Mana­ging part­ner of HAVER & MAILÄNDER since 2013 and mainly active in the areas of corpo­rate law and M&A. He repres­ents inter­na­tio­nal corpo­ra­ti­ons as well as medium-sized compa­nies. Peter Mailän­der has recei­ved seve­ral awards for his ability to struc­ture compa­nies and accom­pany dispu­tes as well as bring M&A tran­sac­tions to a successful conclusion.

Peter Mailän­der is curr­ently a member of foun­da­tion and seve­ral super­vi­sory boards and a spea­ker on various corpo­rate law topics.

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