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Baker McKenzie’s compliance practice has ‘outstanding know-how’ and ‘expertise on the full spread of compliance issues, even in economically weak jurisdictions’. With its strength covering the forensic and preventive levels, the ‘very good’ team is frequently involved in high-profile, cross-border matters and recently represented a German medical devices manufacturer in an internal investigation related to an alleged subsidy fraud; it also regularly advises Daimler on compliance issues. Andreas Lohner, who is ‘great at explaining legal issues to laymen’, co-heads the practice alongside Thomas Grützner, who is singled out for his ‘pragmatic legal advice and kindness’.

Clifford Chance’s ‘exceptional and client-oriented’ group demonstrates ‘deep experience and outstanding expertise’ in anti-corruption, tax, foreign trade law and financial services regulatory compliance matters as well as in due diligence exercises and internal investigations. Alongside its strong standing with clients from financial services, technology, automotive and manufacturing, the team has also been increasingly active in acting for blue-chip corporations in the life sciences sector. Heiner Hugger heads the practice, in which Peter Dieners delivers ‘good and applicable solutions’ for preventive compliance issues. Alexander Cappel was promoted to counsel.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s compliance and investigations practice is most prominent for its expertise and experience in complex, cross-border internal investigations, but is equally adept at advising clients such as ADAC and Holcim on the development and implementation of compliance management systems and due diligence. In a recent cutting-edge matter, an 11-partner team assisted DFB (German Football Association) with an internal investigation related to alleged fraudulent behaviour concerning the tender procedure for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. The Berlin office is increasingly active in healthcare compliance. Norbert Nolte and Norbert Schneider jointly head the cross-practice group. Düsseldorf-based Katrin Gaßner made partner.

Gleiss Lutz provides ‘top expertise’ and ‘extensive advice’ across the whole array of preventive and forensic employment, antitrust, tax, white-collar crime and corporate compliance matters. The ‘exceedingly good’ cross-practice team has a particularly great reputation in the automotive, pharmaceuticals and defence industries, and recently assisted Volkswagen with internal investigations related to the global CO2 emissions scandal. In the financial services sector, the group advised Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan on the compliance aspects of dividend stripping conducted by Maple Bank, in which the client holds a 28% stake. Jacob von Andreae made partner and Michael Arnold heads the group.

As ‘one of the leading firms for compliance issues’, Pohlmann & Company impresses clients with ‘responsiveness, pragmatic solutions, industry knowledge and excellent expertise’. The group frequently handles cross-border internal investigations, compliance health checks and due diligence for clients such as Bosch, Audi and Deutsche Telekom and is headed by the ‘very pleasant and professional’ Andreas Pohlmann, who has particularly deep expertise in Latin America, recently exemplified by assisting Fraport with compliance risk analyses related to a joint venture in Brazil. Thomas Lüthi and Eric Mayer are highly recommended, Thomas Preute and Nicole Willms both made partner and Diyas Assanov joined as of counsel.

White & Case LLP’s compliance expertise spans employment, data protection, anti-corruption, foreign trade and antitrust advice and the practice is one of the first destinations for international blue-chip clients seeking help with internal investigations or regulatory investigations by national and international authorities. Karl-Jörg Xylander and Jürgen Detlef Klengel jointly head the team, which recently assisted a leading engines and drive systems manufacturer with internal investigations concerning allegedly fraudulent and corrupt behaviour of executives and advised a global leader in car manufacturing regarding internal investigations into alleged widespread corruption in Russia. The practice is also experienced in money-laundering prevention, financial sanctions and embargoes.

As part of the global investigations, white-collar crime and fraud practice, Hogan Lovells International LLP’s compliance team is particularly well known by clients in the IP, media and technology space, as well as in life sciences, banking and the public sector. The group adeptly advises on the full spread of preventive and investigative employment, corporate, tax and antitrust compliance, in addition to which it has and has been increasingly active in advising clients on data protection and product liability compliance, sanctions, embargoes and money-laundering prevention. The team recently assisted Lego with internal investigations related to potential antitrust violations. Sebastian Lach heads the team, which includes the highly regarded Jürgen Johannes Witte.

Noerr’s Torsten Fett and his team tackle compliance from all angles and are predominantly active for major German corporations and financial institutions such as Commerzbank. Recent highlight work includes advising a DAX30 company on internal investigations related to an M&A transaction and coordinating a multi-jurisdictional investigation for the German subsidiary of a leading global engines manufacturer. Foreign trade and customs law are other fields of expertise.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is mainly appreciated for its ‘personal and technical competence and sensitivity’ in advising supervisory and executive boards on internal investigations, but provides an equally ‘high service level’ in assisting its high-profile clients with compliance management systems. The group often cooperates with its numerous international offices: practice head Bernd Mayer and the Washington DC office recently advised a US biopharmaceuticals company on investigations in Europe, and the German team worked with colleagues from the US and China to assist a German healthcare company with an FCPA investigation before the SEC and US DoJ. Lutz Zimmer and Anke Sessler are other names to note.

Providing ‘outstanding strategic advice’, WilmerHale is often instructed when supervisory and executive boards seek assistance with ‘particularly delicate matters that demand a deep understanding of both the legal issue and the company’. The group is particularly proficient in advising on anti-corruption, antitrust, export control, tax and money-laundering compliance and often cooperates with its US offices on multi-jurisdictional matters. Recent highlights include advising two regional German banks and one Swiss bank on internal investigations related to financial products. Roland Steinmeyer, Christian Crones and counsel Patrick Späth are all highly recommended. At counsel level, the recently promoted Ines Krolop and Christian Müller are names to note, alongside Jan Wendler.

DLA Piper frequently advises international clients in the financial services, technology, pharmaceuticals and automotive industries on preventive compliance measures and internal investigations. Ludger Giesberts heads the multidisciplinary team, which has compliance expertise spanning data protection, employment, tax, antitrust and white-collar crime matters. During 2016, the practice attracted numerous mandates related to alleged fraud, breach of contract and corruption.

Linklaters’ cross-practice compliance team has ‘very good business acumen’, gives ‘solution-oriented advice’ and shows ‘intelligible risk management’ in advising supervisory and executive boards on internal investigations. Robert Henrici and his group assisted an international bank with internal investigations related to an alleged market manipulation and, in preventive matters, the team advised tesa on cartel compliance and an international financial institution on liability risks related to lifted Iran sanctions.

CMS approaches compliance matters in a ‘very good, methodical and intelligent’ manner and is able to ‘quickly compile a sizeable group of lawyers even in difficult situations’. The group was recently augmented by the arrival of corporate and compliance expert Thomas Sonnenberg from Triton, who is particularly experienced in advising supervisory and executive boards on internal investigations. Other notable highlights included assisting Volkswagen with compliance governance structures related to the CO2 emissions scandal and advising Bastei Lübbe on compliance management systems. Harald Potinecke heads the practice.

Dentons fields a team of experienced compliance experts, including Rainer Markfort, Matthias Santelmann and of counsel Christian Schefold, and advises on the full spectrum of preventive and forensic compliance issues. Recently, the group received numerous instructions related to healthcare and export control compliance matters, such as assisting a German university hospital with internal investigations. Jörg Karenfort is the key contact for antitrust compliance; Peter Braun joined from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP and Bernd Geier was hired from Allen & Overy LLP.

Hengeler Mueller assists domestic and international financial institutions and corporations with corporate, antitrust, data protection, employment and foreign trade law compliance matters. The cross-practice team recently advised Lixil Group on internal investigations; other work included several compliance audits and, notably, Vera Jungkind advising on the compliance implications of the recent lifting of sanctions against Iran.

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Legal Developments in Germany

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • LAG Düsseldorf: Dismissal with immediate effect valid in response to threat

    Anyone who seriously threatens their employer or superior should expect to be dismissed with immediate effect. This was confirmed by a ruling of the Landesarbeitsgericht (LAG) Düsseldorf [Regional Labour Court of Düsseldorf] from June 8, 2017 (Az.: 11 Sa 823/16).
  • Tax evasion: Only voluntary disclosure affords protection from severe penalties

    Anyone who has been caught for tax evasion should expect to be faced with severe penalties. Voluntary disclosure is the only way of returning to a state of normal tax affairs and avoiding penalties.
  • GSK Update: AIFM Marketing in Germany - The clock is ticking for U.S. and other non-EU fund managers

    Our GSK Update informs about the impact of recent German investment fund legislation (UCITS V Implementation Act) for AIF managers, who are not domiciled in the EU (“non-EU-AIFM”) and who seek to market AIF shares in Germany in accordance with applicable German investment fund law under the EU-AIFM Directive (2011/61/EU).
  • GSK expands Luxembourg presence with a new tax partner

    Opened at the beginning of March 2016, GSK Stockmann + Kollegen continues to expand its Luxembourg office. Mathilde Ostertag recently joined the Luxembourg team of Equity Partners Dr. Marcus Peter, Andreas Heinzmann and Dr. Philipp Mößner as Local Tax Partner.
  • EIA - Strengthening the role of the public

    Among other things, the recent amendment to the Environmental Impact Assessment Act has broadened the rights of (what is termed) the "affected public". The affected public consists primarily of various citizens' initiatives pursuing environmental or public-health purposes. It may for instance file an appeal against a negative decision at the screening stage (i.e., a decision according to which the given project does not require the issuance of an EIA report), and seek its annulment in court. The affected public has been granted a stronger voice also in subsequent procedures in which the fate of a building project is being decided: zoning proceedings and the proceedings on the issuance of a building permit. Taken together, these legislative changes may make it more difficult to implement projects which require an EIA report; in particular, the length of permission proceedings may be substantially extended.
  • New Top Level Domains – Noerr expert warns against trademark infringements

    On June 13, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) published the names of those who have applied for a new top level domain the ending of which may be geographic, such as "munich", industry identification such as "insurance" and even all trademark names and company descriptions such as "canon" and "adidas".
    - Noerr
  • No obligation to set up filtering systems in order to prevent copyright violations

    ECJ, decision of February 16th, 2012, ref. C-360/10 – SABAM
  • Further ECJ Ruling concerning NGO’s right of action under German environmental law

    For the second time within a short period of time, the non-governmental organisations right to challenge administrative decisions under German law is going to be subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). In January 2012, the German Supreme Administrative Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht) referred a case to the ECJ for a preliminary ruling concerning the NGO’s right of action.
  • Lessons in Cross-Border M & A Transactions

    The fundamental advice for international business transactions is obvious and easy to understand: different countries have different laws, business habits and cultures. These differences may range from minor nuances, such as lengthy French business lunches or unusual Spanish office hours, to significant legal roadblocks, such as strict European employment laws.
  • Priority rental rights in insolvency

    Parties to rental contracts for commercial premises often agree priority rental rights. In practice, this concept is used to cover a whole series of legal structures. These range from fixed options for the tenant to a promise made by the landlord as a business policy that if any additional premises become available, they will be offered to the tenant. In 2010 the Berlin Court of Appeal issued a ruling on such priority rental rights in insolvency; the decision has recently been published.

Press Releases in Germany

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