Photo, Dieter A. Schmitz

Dieter A. Schmitz

Baker & McKenzie LLP


Dieter Schmitz has practiced international business law in Baker McKenzie’s Chicago, Berlin and Frankfurt offices since 1984. He has been ranked in Chambers Global, Chambers USA and The International Who’s Who of Mergers & Acquisitions Lawyers. Mr. Schmitz has written numerous articles about various aspects of international business transactions and been published in The International Lawyer and The Business Lawyer. A longtime board member of the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, he serves on its executive committee.

Practice Focus

Mr. Schmitz’s practice principally involves advising US and foreign clients on acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, strategic alliances, and other international transactions. The transactions involve companies in a wide range of product and service sectors. Because of Mr. Schmitz’s international background and German fluency, nearly all of these transactions are cross-border in nature — principally between the United States and Europe.

Representative Legal Matters

Mr. Schmitz’s selected transactional experience is as follows, the first seven of which represented the respective client’s "largest transaction ever":

  • Ecolab Inc. – Merger between this NYSE company and Nalco Holding Company (NYSE) with operations in 150 countries (USD8.3 billion).
  • Bemis Company, Inc. – Acquisition by this NYSE company of the Food Americas operations of Alcan Packaging, a business unit of Rio Tinto plc (USD1.2 billion) and the follow-on divestiture ordered by the US Department of Justice.
  • Prestige Brands Holdings, Inc. – Acquisition by this NYSE company of 17 over-the-counter healthcare brands from GlaxoSmithKline plc (USD660 million).
  • AgraQuest, Inc. – Sale by this US biotech company to Bayer CropScience, a member of the Bayer AG group (USD500 million), selected by 2013 M&A Advisor Healthcare and Life Sciences "Deal of the Year" Award.
  • Gardner Denver, Inc. – Acquisition by this NYSE company of Thomas Industries Inc. (NYSE) with operations in over 20 countries (USD734 million).
  • SwissairGroup AG – Acquisition by Gate Gourmet AG of Dobbs International Services, Inc. and Dobbs International (UK) Limited from Viad Corp. (USD790 million).
  • Turtle Wax, Inc. – Acquisition by this US company of the European car care business of Sara Lee/DE N.V.
  • Starbucks Corporation – Acquisition by this NASDAQ company of a controlling interest in Beijing Mei Da Coffee Co. Ltd., the operator of 60 Starbucks retail stores in Beijing and Tianjin, People’s Republic of China.
  • Gardner Denver, Inc. – Acquisition of nash_elmo Holdings, LLC (formerly a division of Siemens AG) with operations in 20 countries (USD224 million).
  • Brady Corporation – Sale by this NYSE company of Asian and European die-cast business (USD192 million sales) to Boyd Corporation.

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Professional Honors

  • Ranked lawyer for Corporate/M&A, Illinois, Chambers USA, 2014-2016
  • "Foreign expert" in Germany and the US for Corporate/M&A, Chambers Global, 2012-2013
  • Ranked lawyer, The International Who’s Who of Merger & Acquisition Lawyers, 2012
  • Awardee, Christifideles Award, Chicago Archdiocese, 2012
  • "Leader in Corporate/M&A: Overseas Counsel," Chambers Global, 2011
  • Highly recommended for M&A transactions, The Legal 500 US, 2010
  • Profiled lawyer, Chicago Lawyer

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest - Member of Board and Executive Committee
  • Chicago Bar Association - Member
  • Chicago Council on Foreign Relations - Member
  • St. Athanasius School Board - Member
  • Chicago Chapter of the United Nations Association of the USA

Corporate Responsibility

Mr. Schmitz is active in many international organizations. He has been a long-time member of the board of directors of the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, and serves on its Executive Committee. Over the years, he has held various leadership positions for international issues with the Chicago Bar Association, the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, and the Greater Chicago Chapter of the United Nations Association - USA. On the civic and charitable front, he is a long-standing member of the board of directors of the Juvenile Protective Association, a 115-year old social welfare agency founded by Jane Addams. He also launched and has chaired for over 12 years at Baker McKenzie the Chicago office’s Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, which has been extended to all North American offices. The father of four children, he served on the St. Athanasius School Board, including two years as Chairman. Mr. Schmitz has been a mentor and financial sponsor for various African-American high school students through Link Unlimited. As an Eagle Scout, he has been an Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 912 in Evanston, Illinois. In 2014-2015, he led the development with about 2000 collective pro bono hours of the Homeless Youth Handbook, a 250-page and on-line resource for homeless youth and those who support them in the State of Washington (with Starbucks) and the State of Minnesota (with Ecolab), which can be viewed here.


  • Illinois~United States (1984)


  • DePaul University College of Law (LL.M. Taxation) (1990)
  • University of Munich (1985)
  • Northwestern University School of Law (J.D., cum laude) (1984)
  • University of Freiburg (1981)
  • University of Notre Dame (B.A., magna cum laude) (1980)
  • University of Innsbruck (1978)


  • English
  • German

Previous Offices

  • Berlin
  • Frankfurt

Mr. Schmitz’s publications have addressed various aspects of international business transactions. Some of the articles have focused on licensing and franchising in the European Community and have been published in The International Lawyer and The Business Lawyer. He is a co-author (in German) of a C.H. Beck multi-national publication on U.S. commercial law. He is the editor of Willkommen in Amerika, a Baker McKenzie handbook (in both English and German) on doing business in the United States. Mr. Schmitz’s speeches have also covered many aspects of international business transactions, and have been sponsored by groups such as the American Bar Association, American Management Association, Association of Corporate Counsel, Berlin and Dresden Chambers of Commerce, The Economist General Counsel Roundtable, Federal Commissioner for Foreign Investment in Germany, Mergermarket, and Practising Law Institute. Mr. Schmitz has been included in numerous publications and articles with respect to his international practice and transactions including AmLawDaily, Australian Financial Review, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Law 360, LegalWeek and Thomson Reuters.