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“Next Normal Legal” ‒ The Legal Situation in Germany after Covid-19

Taylor Wessing announces a comprehensive new White Paper – quoting the foreword of the in-depth analysis: The expressions “after the fall of the Berlin Wall . . .”, “post-9/11 . . .”, “before the financial crisis . . .” are all associated with monumental historical events. After their occurrence, the world became a different place than before. Without doubt, “before Corona . . .” will soon be included in this list.

The so-called “next normal”, following the pandemic, will differ considerably from the previous status quo: Even without social distancing and masks, the way people live together is changing and many companies and economies are facing strong pressure to act against the background of a global Corona economic crisis. In the legal sphere, the so-called “Next Normal Legal” which is emerging in Germany, will also be shaped by many of these changes.

Companies will have to learn to adapt to drastic changes in economic and legal conditions or sooner or later disappear from the market. More robust, innovative or adaptable business models will prevail. The Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter (1883-1950) called this process the ongoing “creative destruction”. In times of crisis, both the destructive and the creative extremes become particularly visible:

Civil aviation had to completely shut down its operations within a few weeks, with grave consequences for many employees and companies. A short time later, however, many communications technology companies celebrated stock market records, because meetings were now taking place almost exclusively in virtual conference rooms. Just think of the automobile manufacturer that switched production to ventilators at the height of the pandemic. Meanwhile, fashion designers literally “made a virtue out of necessity” and started making facemasks instead of evening dresses and tailor-made suits, for which demand collapsed overnight because there were no evening events any more.

At Taylor Wessing, we have been particularly concerned in recent months with the question of which Corona-related economic and legal challenges companies have to face in the “Next Normal Legal” scenario. We wanted to know how players from different industries would react to the new situation, how they would adapt and possibly even emerge from the crisis stronger than before. We have therefore conducted thorough research and numerous expert interviews with our Taylor Wessing partners from all areas of law with a diverse industry and regional focus. We asked them to shed light on the “Next Normal Legal” situation in Germany from their perspective and to identify opportunities and risks for their clients.

Taylor Wessing has summarised the results of this research for you in the full White Paper. As expected, we anticipate numerous major developments – both positive and negative – in almost all industries, from retail to automotive to healthcare. We also identify cross-sectoral issues, such as an increased risk of litigation and the partly different challenges for entrepreneurs and investors.

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