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Portrait of Bernt Elsner

Bernt Elsner

Partner
Global head of the CMS Public Procurement Group

CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz
Rechtsanwälte GmbH
Gauermanngasse 2
1010 Vienna
Austria
Languages English, German
Competition & EU

Specialisation in EU competition/antitrust

Bernt Elsner is partner and 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 24 years of professional experience in Vienna and Brussels.

He advises and represents national and international companies in national and European merger control proceedings, especially in cross-border mergers, on horizontal antitrust law, especially in the area of submission cartels, vertical distribution structures, abuse control and state aid law.

In the area of antitrust law, he would like to achieve the following: “I would like to position CMS as the first point of contact for companies seeking comprehensive top-level service in merger and antitrust proceedings across several European jurisdictions.”

He explains the CMS’s largest asset as follows: “The CMS network offers access to more than 150 antitrust experts in 27 countries, providing significantly greater coverage in Europe than any of our competitors. This is particularly important for dawn raids, because we can support our clients on site at very short notice thanks to our numerous locations.

Industries

Bernt Elsner has extensive industry experience in construction and infrastructure, healthcare, finance, energy and climate change.

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The ‘very fast’, ‘precise’ and ‘pragmatic’ Bernt Elsner heads the team.

Legal 500 2016

Who’s Who Legal describes him as a “sensational lawyer” combining “in-depth knowledge with commercial acumen”.

Who's Who Legal 2015

Memberships & Roles

Bernt Elsner heads the Austrian practice group for EU Competition covering antitrust law, merger control, abuse of market power, state aid and antitrust compliance. He is a member of the management team of the international CMS Competition & EU Practice Group and global head of the CMS Public Procurement Practice Group.

  • Vienna Bar Association
  • Antitrust Lawyers’ Association (Studienvereinigung Kartellrecht)
  • Society for Construction Law (Gesellschaft für Baurecht)
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Awards & Rankings

  • 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).
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Publications

Bernt Elsner is the author of numerous specialist books, book contributions and essays on public procurement and competition law topics.

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Lectures list

Bernt Elsner is a frequent speaker on antitrust law compliance, preparation for dawn raids and state aid law at antitrust conferences, seminars and directly in companies.

  • Guest lecturer on public procurement law at the University of Vienna
  • Head of the CMS Public Procurement Forum
  • MANZ Annual Conference on Public Procurement Law 2019
  • Lectures at the conference "Procurement Forum"
  • Regular speaker on seminars with ARS and IMHon public procurement, competition and compliance topics
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Education

  • 1996 - Admission to the bar (Vienna, Austria)
  • 1993 - Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Mag. rer. soc. oec.
  • 1991 - University of Vienna, Dr. iur.
  • 1989 - University of Vienna, Mag. iur.
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Public Law

Specialisation in public law

Bernt Elsner is partner and leading expert in the fields of public procurement, antitrust and public law.  

As a former research associate at the Austrian Constitutional Court, he has specific experience and expertise in public law matters. He represents clients before various authorities, the Federal and Regional Administrative Courts, the Constitutional Court, the Administrative Court and the European Courts.

Bernt Elsner 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.

Industries

Bernt Elsner has extensive industry experience in construction and infrastructure, healthcare, finance, energy and climate change.

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Practice head Bernt Elsner is ‘a skilled negotiator’ and ‘adaptable’

Legal 500, 2017

Memberships & Roles

Bernt Elsner heads the Austrian practice group for Public Law, antitrust and public procurement. He is global head of the CMS Public Procurement Practice Group.

  • Vienna Bar Association
  • Antitrust Lawyers’ Association (Studienvereinigung Kartellrecht)
  • Society for Construction Law (Gesellschaft für Baurecht)
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Awards & Rankings

  • 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).
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Publications

Bernt Elsner is the author of numerous specialist books, book contributions and essays on public procurement and public law topics.

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Lectures list

Bernt Elsner is an active lecturer on state aid law and public law topics at numerous conferences and seminars. 

  • Guest lecturer on public procurement law at the University of Vienna
  • Head of the CMS Public Procurement Forum
  • MANZ Annual Conference on Public Procurement Law 2019
  • Lectures at the conference "Procurement Forum"
  • Regular speaker on seminars with ARS and IMHon public procurement, competition and compliance topics
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Education

  • 1996 - Admission to the bar (Vienna, Austria)
  • 1993 - Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Mag. rer. soc. oec.)
  • 1991 - University of Vienna, Dr. iur.
  • 1989 - University of Vienna, Mag. iur.
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Public Procurement

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 24 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 costs, environmental impact and a sustainable outcome in the interest of future generations.

Industries

Bernt Elsner has extensive industry experience in construction and infrastructure, healthcare, finance, energy and climate change.

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"Very experienced player in procurement" Bernt Elsner is a top-level lawyer, praised by sources for his "comprehensive know-how and experience in procurement law."

Chambers Europe, 2017

"Bernt Elsner is highly qualified and knowledgeable in all public procurement matters. But further to that, he has an excellent understanding of legal procedures.”

Legal 500 (2021)

Bernt Elsner commands great respect among peers, with one source describing him as "the doyen of the public procurement scene." Clients observe that he is "well prepared and knows the details," and that he is "very good in negotiations."

Chambers Europe 2016

Memberships & Roles

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 36 countries. He also leads the Austrian teams for public procurement, EU competition and public law.

  • Vienna Bar Association
  • Antitrust Lawyers’ Association (Studienvereinigung Kartellrecht)
  • Society for Construction Law (Gesellschaft für Baurecht)
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Awards & Rankings

  • Chambers & Partners place Bernt Elsner unanimously in Band 1, describing him as a “brilliant public procurement lawyer” (2014) who “remains calm in the eye of the storm and focuses on the really relevant points” (2020).
  • Legal500 lists him as a "leading individual" in Band 1 (2020, 2021) and praises him as "very professional and knowledgeable lawyer”, with “excellent understanding of all procedures and all legal matters" (2021).  
  • 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).
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Publications

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.

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Lectures list

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.

  • Guest lecturer on public procurement law at the University of Vienna
  • Head of the CMS Public Procurement Forum
  • MANZ Annual Conference on Public Procurement Law 2019
  • Lectures at the conference "Procurement Forum"
  • Regular speaker on seminars with ARS and IMHon public procurement, competition and compliance topics
more less

Education

  • 1996 - Admission to the bar (Vienna, Austria)
  • 1993 - Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Mag. rer. soc. oec.
  • 1991 - University of Vienna, Dr. iur.
  • 1989 - University of Vienna, Mag. iur.
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