Dr. Markus Altenkirch, a senior associate, joined Baker McKenzie’s Dispute Resolution Practice Group in 2012. Markus holds a doctorate degree in international arbitration and obtained a master’s degree in law with a special focus on international arbitration at King’s College, London. He teaches at the University of Mainz and regularly publishes in the field of international arbitration. He is the editor of Global Arbitration News, Baker McKenzie's blog on international arbitration, and served as a Co-Chair of DIS 40, an initiative by the German Institution of Arbitration (DIS) for young arbitration practitioners in Germany from 2018-2021. In 2019, Markus developed together with a team of lawyers the Disputes Clause Finder, an online tool to create a fit-for-purpose dispute resolution clause. In 2021, Markus has started his own podcast series: #zukunft. Markus, and his colleague Lisa Reiser, interview leading arbitration practitioners and in-house lawyers on the future of international arbitration.
Markus is described by peers as an "outstanding professional who is definitely one of the future leading arbitration lawyers" and by clients as "a quick-witted, extremely bright and reliable lawyer and an expert on arbitration with a deep understanding of the in-house world". Markus is ranked as Future Leader in International Arbitration by Who is Who Legal and was awarded the Lexology Client Choice Award 2021 for Arbitration in Germany.
Markus has advised and represented clients in more than 30 international arbitration cases involving mostly Post-M&A disputes as well as disputes arising from license and distribution agreements (in particular in the pharmaceutical industry). Moreover, Markus has experience in handling complex and fact-driven construction disputes involving the construction of power plants or petro-chemical plants.
Markus regularly works for clients from Asia and has a particular expertise in arbitration proceedings in the region (e.g. under the HKIAC or CIETAC Rules).
Given his work background and experience, Markus does not only have a solid grasp of typical issues arising from share purchase, license, or construction agreements. But Markus is also adept at dealing with different legal cultures on the side of the client, the counterparty, and the arbitrators.
Representative Legal Matters
- Convinced a DIS Tribunal that a Taiwanese industrial conglomerate had been defrauded when acquiring a German Mittelstand company. The Tribunal awarded damages for the breach of a financial statements warranty on the basis of a valuation multiple and found that the limitation of liability clause in the share purchase agreement did not limit the client’s damages.
- Currently representing and advising the former seller in a Post-M&A dispute concerning an earn-out mechanism and involving a purchase price claim of more than EUR 100 million. The dispute concerns the typical challenges for a seller who has no control of the company and its books but whose purchase price claim depends on the financial figures of the target company.
- Achieved a 100% victory for a Chinese claimant in an HKIAC arbitration against a customer from Europe. The seat of arbitration was Hong Kong; the law applicable to the contract was Hong Kong law. Several obstacles had to be overcome such as a challenge of the Tribunal’s jurisdiction, parallel state court proceedings in Hong Kong, a joinder application, and a challenge to the Tribunal’s impartiality. In the end, the Tribunal awarded the requested sum in full plus interest and legal costs on an indemnity basis.
- Successfully defended an international pharmaceutical company in a CIETAC arbitration seated in Shanghai against claims filed by the distributor following the termination of the distribution agreement. The arbitration not only involved legal arguments on the question whether the distribution agreement can be terminated without compensation, but also required expert evidence on the res judicata effect of arbitral awards under the Chinese arbitration law.
- Successfully represented a German power plant owner in an ICC arbitration about delayed completion of the power plant with a sum in dispute of more than EUR 1 billion. The contractor raised a counterclaim in an amount of EUR 700 million arguing that the owner disrupted the contractor’s work and that the original EPC contract was frustrated. The tribunal dismissed the counterclaim in its entirety and granted the maximum liquidated damages for delayed completion in favor of the owner.
- Future Leader in International Arbitration, Who is Who Legal, 2020, 2021, 2022
- Client Choice Award - Arbitration Germany, Lexology, 2021
Professional Associations and Memberships
- DIS 40 - Co-Chair
- International Centre for Dispute Resolution - Young & International (ICDR Y&I) - Member of the Global Advisory Board
- German Institution of Arbitration (DIS) - Member
- Young International Council for Commercial Arbitration - Member
- HKIAC's HK45 - Member
- Germany (2012)
- Regional Court of Mainz (Assessor Exam) (2011)
- King's College London (LL.M.) (2008)
- Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz (Referendar Exam) (2007)
- Speaker, "Streitigkeiten aus Lizenzverträgen im Zusammenhang mit der EMA Marktzulassung,"18th Petersberger Schiedstage 2020, 29 February 2020
- Speaker, "Party-appointed experts in International Arbitration – A WOMBAT?," ICDR-Y&I Conference, Athens, 14 February 2020
- Speaker, "Use of Legal Tech and AI in Arbitration," ICC YAF Conference, Istanbul, 13 February 2020
- Speaker, "The Disputes Clause Finder," Baker McKenzie’s Annual Litigation Seminar, London, 3 October 2019
- Moderator, "Arbitration and Climate Change," DIS40 Autumn Conference, Berlin, 10 September 2019