Karlheinz Quack, Former Leader of WilmerHale' German practice died aged 80

Karlheinz Quack, Former Leader of WilmerHale' German practice died aged 80


It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Karlheinz Quack, one of Germany's most distinguished lawyers and the founder of the practice that later became the core of the firm's Berlin office. Karlheinz Quack died on Sunday, December 10, 2006, aged 80, at his home in Berlin. Karlheinz Quack is survived by his wife, Elisabeth, and two sons, our partner Ulrich Quack and Andreas Quack, their wives and 3 grandchildren.


Over the course of more than half a century, Karlheinz Quack built one of the most preeminent law practices in Germany. Karlheinz Quack was respected by his many clients, throughout the profession and beyond for a unique mix of highest professional standards, absolute personal integrity and scrupulous fairness and collegiality. With his humor and personal warmth, Karlheinz Quack was so much more to his clients than their lawyer, and so much more to us than a partner and colleague. In many ways, Karlheinz Quack was a friend, wise advisor and fatherly mentor to all of us.


After having studied law at the Humboldt University in Berlin, he began his career at the law office of Dr. Reinholz in Berlin in 1954. Only shortly after joining Dr. Reinholz, he devoted all his efforts to expanding the small local firm, with a view to serving the growing post-war demand for legal advice from increasingly large industry clients from all across Germany. Karlheinz Quack led the firm - now called Quack, Kühn & Partner - to nationwide esteem. In 1989, Karlheinz Quack joined forces with three other law firms to become Gaedertz Vieregge Quack Kreile. For over ten years, the merged firm was one of the leading players in the German legal market. In 2001, Karlheinz Quack and his team in Berlin decided to merge with Wilmer Cutler Pickering, more than doubling our size in Berlin and firmly anchoring our presence in Germany.


Benefiting from a strong intellect and an unrelenting interest in the law, Karlheinz Quack's own practice spread across a rare breadth of legal areas. But he felt particularly at ease as a corporate, intellectual property and antitrust lawyer. His admission to the bar in the 1950s coincided with the adoption of the German Antitrust Code. With the then newly established Federal Cartel Office located in Berlin, Karlheinz Quack helped to shape German antitrust law and practice during the next 50 years. He frequently appeared before the German Supreme Court and the European Court of Justice and litigated leading cases in these courts.


Karlheinz Quack was deeply involved in academic life, both in Berlin and beyond. He taught corporate and antitrust law at the Free University of Berlin. Yet he always remained closely connected with his Alma Mater, the Humboldt University of Berlin, where he also met his wife Elisabeth. Thus, soon after the wall came down, Karlheinz Quack returned to the Humboldt University where he played a very active role in re-building its Faculty of Law. He published numerous important articles and co-authored one of the leading treatises on German antitrust law. In 2001, the Humboldt University honored his contributions to academic life with an Honorary Doctorate. To mark the occasion of Karlheinz Quack's 80th birthday in January 2006, the Partners of the firm's Berlin office established the annual Karlheinz Quack Award for the best doctoral dissertation written at Humboldt University.


Karlheinz Quack also made many major contributions to the profession in Germany as a passionate advocate of freedom and law. Born in January 1926, Karlheinz Quack had grown up under the Nazi regime and during the Second World War and, later, saw the Humboldt University of Berlin slowly taken over by the Communist government of Eastern Germany. His experience with totalitarian regimes turned him into a relentless defender of the young German democracy, its judicial institutions and the legal profession against both right-wing and left-wing totalitarian tendencies. For ten years, from 1971 to 1981, he served as President of the Berlin Bar. Subsequently, he was appointed Judge at the German Supreme Court's Chamber for the Legal Profession, a position he held until 1990. Karlheinz Quack served as the third President of the German Association for Intellectual Property Rights and Copyright (GRUR) from 1981 to 1992. For his commitment to public service, Berlin awarded him its highest honor, the Ernst-Reuter-Medaille.


We are thankful for the professional and intellectual leadership, but also for the personal warmth he brought to the firm. We will miss Karlheinz Quack.