Specialisation in public procurement
Bernt Elsner is partner and global head of the CMS Public Procurement Group. He is a leading expert in the fields of public procurement, antitrust and public law.
He studied law at the University of Vienna and business administration at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration. In 1993-94 he worked as a research assistant at the Austrian Constitutional Court for the constitutional judges Prof. Dr. Karl Spielbüchler and Prof. Dr. Karl Korinek. In 1997 he practised European competition law at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in Brussels. From 2004 to 2010 he was Managing Partner of CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz. He has more than 23 years of professional experience in Vienna and Brussels.
Bernt Elsner is one of the leading Austrian experts in the dynamic and constantly changing field of public procurement law. His numerous publications and lectures have had a significant impact on Austrian public procurement law.
He advises public entities on the structuring of complex tenders, advises bidders on their participation in award procedures, especially public-private partnerships (PPP projects), and frequently represents them in public procurement disputes. He has extensive experience in tender-relevant compliance issues.
Bernt Elsner defines his goals as head of the global CMS Public Procurement Practice Group as follows: “I would like to position CMS as the first point of contact for companies seeking comprehensive top-level advice in tenders across several European jurisdictions."
“The aim of public procurement law is to ensure fair rules of the game for all competitors, enabling public authorities to identify the tender offering the best value for money. The best solution is the right combination of total ownership cost, environmental impact and a sustainable outcome in the interest of future generations.”
Bernt Elsner has extensive industry experience in construction and infrastructure, healthcare, finance, energy and waste management.
Bernt Elsner is an active lecturer in the field of public procurement law at the University of Vienna and at numerous public procurement conferences and seminars. He was head of the MANZ Annual Conference on Public Procurement Law 2019.
Publications and articles
Bernt Elsner is the author of six specialist books on public procurement law as well as numerous book contributions and essays. He also co-edits the leading Austrian journal on public procurement law Zeitschrift für Vergaberecht und Bauvertragsrecht (Journal for Public Procurement Law and Construction Contract Law).
“Public procurement law is exciting because it lies in the field of tension between European Union law and national law, public and private law, federal and regional law as well as between law, technical planning and operational calculation. The complexity of large tendering procedures requires a respectful exchange between different professional disciplines, which requires many years of experience in the sector.”
Chambers & Partners place Bernt Elsner unanimously in Band 1, describing him as a “brilliant public procurement lawyer” (2014), Legal500 note he is “very fast, precise and pragmatic” (2016). Who’sWhoLegal describes him as a “sensational lawyer” who combines “deep expertise with business competence” (2015). IFLR has named him “Market Leader” (2019) in the field of energy and infrastructure, Best Lawyers named him “Lawyer of the Year in European Law” (2019).
Bernt Elsner is global head of the CMS Public Procurement Practice Group. In this role, he leads an international team of more than 150 public procurement experts working at 50 locations in 40 countries. He also leads the Austrian teams for public procurement, EU competition and public law.