Prof. Dr. Helmut Grothe was born in Wülfrath, Germany, in 1960. He studied law at the Universities of Bayreuth and Osnabrück, funded by a scholarship of the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes). During this time, he was employed as a research assistant to Prof. Dr. Karl-Ulrich Meyn (chair in public law at the University of Osnabrück) in the years 1982/1983 and as a research assistant to the law and tax consultancy firm Wenk, Schindhelm und Partner from 1984 to 1988. He graduated by passing the First State Exam in 1986.
In 1988, he obtained his Ph.D. with a thesis on International Corporate Law at the University of Osnabrück, supervised by Prof. Dr. Christian v. Bar (as a scholar of the German National Academic Foundation). After the Referendariat (legal traineeship required by German Law), he passed the Second State Exam in 1991. In 1998, having spent three years as a research assistant at the Institute for Private International Law and Comparative Law at the University of Osnabrück and three years as a scholar of the German Research Community (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft), he finished his habilitation thesis at the University of Osnabrück, again under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Christian v. Bar.
He then functioned as a substitute professor for Prof. Dr. Klaus J. Hopt at Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universität München (fall term 1997) and Prof. Dr. Jürgen Basedow at Freie Universität Berlin (summer term 1998). In September 1998, he was appointed Professor for Civil Law, Private International Law and Comparative Law at Freie Universität Berlin, and was named the Head of the Institute for Private International Law, International Civil Procedure and Comparative Law in 2005. From April 2009 until March 2010, he served as Dean of the Law Faculty at Freie Universität Berlin. From August 2011 until December 2011 he taught at the Center for Transnational Legal Studies in London.