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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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Germany > Compliance > Internal investigations > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Internal investigations
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Heiner Hugger - Clifford Chance
    • Norbert Nolte - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Jan Ehling - AGS Legal

Who Represents Who

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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s team benefits from its close co-operation with colleagues from the white-collar crime, corporate, antitrust, tax and employment law departments, which is regularly called upon during internal and external investigations. Recently, a cross-departmental team of five partners assisted a company in the plastics industry with several internal investigations into its subsidiaries concerning fiscal and criminal tax law matters, while, in an equally significant matter, Norbert Nolte, Tobias Larisch and David Beutel advised Airbus on criminal charges brought by the Austrian Federal Ministry for National Defence and Sport and the subsequent investigation into the allegations made. Other key individuals include Marius Berenbrok and Christian Duve, while the team lost Ferdinand Fromholzer to Gibson Dunn in June 2016.

Hogan Lovells International LLP acts for several well-known clients from the transport and construction industries alongside manufacturers and automotive sector players in various internal investigations, frequently including cross-border elements, and handles related litigation. With particular strength in the environmental space, the team routinely deals with alleged environmental permit requirement violations, and, in other work, also deals with product liability, customs clearance, industrial espionage and procurement infringement matters. When handling internal investigations, Sebastian Lach’s team frequently acts for clients faced with bribery, breach of trust and corruption allegations. In early 2017, Dorina Bruns was made counsel, while counsel Markus Burkhardt Ende took up an in-house role at Amazon in late 2016.

Baker McKenzie’s ‘very good goal-oriented’ team receives a steady flow of instructions from German and international clients concerning internal investigations into sanction and customs violations alongside anti-corruption, bribery and fraud matters. Recent work, with ‘very experienced and practical pragmatist’ Thomas Grützner in the lead, includes assisting a manufacturer with internal investigations, and acting for a listed company in internal investigations on anti-corruption matters pertaining to a defence project. Andreas Lohner assisted a German company with internal investigations following several compliance violations, including bribery and accounting mismatches. In other significant work, Franz Clemens Leisch acted for a German manufacturer from the consumer goods industry in internal investigations pertaining to customs violations, tax evasion and fraud.

Clifford Chance represents its broad client base, including technology, telecommunications and insurance sector players, in internal investigations covering corruption, malpractice and fraud matters. Key contact Heiner Hugger advised a water technology company on an internal investigation into corruption allegations pertaining to a project abroad, and assisted a technology company with investigations into the suspected misuse of the computer system by a works council member. In other work, a technology sector client instructed the team to advise on submission fraud matters, while a telecommunications client received assistance with an internal investigation into procurement fraud allegations. David Pasewaldt was made counsel in May 2017.

The ‘focussed and well-functioning’ team at Noerr is well equipped to guide clients through cross-border internal investigations which was demonstrated by Lars Kutzner advising a listed German company on internal investigations, and by Christian Pelz assisting a German engineering company with an internal investigation following suspected antitrust violations, submission fraud and the betrayal of business and trade secrets. Equally noteworthy, the team led by the recommended Torsten Fett acted for a company in an administrative customs and energy tax investigation. In January 2017, the practice expanded its pool of partners by promoting Sophia Habbe and Fabian Badtke. Senior associate Laura Görtz is recommended.

Having substantial expertise in criminal law and litigation, White & Case LLP provides regular assistance to clients across a range of industries, including financial services and manufacturing as well as IT, entertainment and service sector players, with national and cross-border investigations into bribery and tax-related issues. However, Karl-Jörg Xylander’s team, which includes Nils Clemm and Constantin Lauterwein, who was made local partner in early 2017, had to face a number of significant losses in 2016 and 2017: in 2016, local partner Ole Mückenberger left the firm to open an office in Frankfurt for the criminal law boutique Tsambikakis & Partner Rechtsanwälte and Börries Ahrens moved to Allen & Overy LLP, while, in February 2017, white-collar crime lawyer Jürgen Klengel left to work independently at Kanzlei Klengel.

Following a multi-disciplinary approach, DLA Piper’s clients benefit from the team’s close co-operation with the firm’s antitrust, IT, tax, employment law and white-collar crime departments, leading to a steady flow of internal investigation mandates. As a result, the team led by Ludger Giesberts, which recently increased its bench strength by adding counsel Florian Gero Kirstein from the public prosecutor’s office of Hamburg, acts for various manufacturing industry clients in internal investigations pertaining to foreign trade and antitrust violations alongside subsidy fraud, corruption, bribery and tax evasion allegations. Jürgen Taschke and Christian Schoop are recommended.

Linklaters acts for banks and credit institutions alongside national and international companies in internal investigations and in proceedings on tax evasion and sanction violations. Klaus Saffenreuther is singled out for his expertise in handling allegations of insider trading and of manipulating budgeting and reporting systems. Frederik Winter assisted a client with money laundering matters. Hans-Ulrich Wilsing heads the team.

CMS’ client roster includes various national and international companies in the automotive sector, such as Volkswagen and Audi, financial services providers and other listed companies. Both car manufacturers retained the team with dieselgate matters including a review of compliance governance structures. In equally high-profile work, the team advised a former member of HypoVereinsbank’s management board on Cum-Ex issues, while Harald Potinecke assisted Augustinum Seniorenresidenz with an internal investigation into various property transactions. Implenia instructed the practice with a compliance due diligence review for an M&A transaction. The team is also adept at handling contentious and non-contentious criminal antitrust and employment law matters and at carrying out money laundering investigations. In August 2016, Thomas Sonnenberg joined the team from Sal. Oppenheim and, in early 2017, Florian Block was elevated to the partnership.

The team at Gibson Dunn defends companies, executives and public officials in national and international investigations and gained significant momentum by adding Ferdinand Fromholzer from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in June 2016 and Finn Zeidler from Latham & Watkins LLP in May 2017. Assisting clients with investigative proceedings, including an instruction by an international hotel chain with Michael Walther in the lead, constitutes another key portion of the workload. Other key individuals include Benno Schwarz, who clients rate for his expertise in Russia-related issues, and Mark Zimmer.

Gleiss Lutz is particularly active in handling cross-border investigations and demonstrates substantial expertise in antitrust-related work. As a highlight, the ‘well-connected’ Christian Steinle, who is noted for his ‘pragmatic solutions’, acted for Siemens in an internal investigation pertaining to antitrust proceedings by the Greek competition authority on infrastructure projects, and Petra Linsmeier assisted an international electronics manufacturer with an antitrust audit for its European subsidiaries. Other key individuals include Jacob von Andreae, who clients routinely instruct with compliance investigations into false self-employment matters, the ‘down-to-earth’ Eike Bicker, who was made partner in July 2016, Hansjörg Scheel and Michael Arnold.

The ‘competent and professional’ team at Pohlmann & Company is singled out for its ‘designated compliance expertise’ and ‘high-quality advice’, while clients also appreciate its ‘satisfying response times’. The frequently recommended Andreas Pohlmann assisted Petrobras with the co-ordination of an internal compliance investigation, while Horst Schlemminger is noted for his environmental compliance expertise, which includes representing clients in criminal proceedings. Thomas Preute is also recommended. In September 2017, Stephan Petri joined the team from an in-house role at the Bochumer Gea Group, while in December 2017, Eric Mayer moved to GSK Stockmann.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s corporate governance and compliance team puts significant emphasis on providing management board and supervisory board-related advice on a wide range of matters including fraud, corruption, bribery and money laundering alongside export controls and related sanctions. Team head Bernd Mayer assisted UniCredit Bank’s supervisory board with an internal investigation following various share transactions, which included tax and criminal aspects. The practice also advised the supervisory board of a German manufacturing company on bribery allegations, and an US pharmaceutical and biotechnology company on internal investigations into its European sales and distribution practices.

Allen & Overy LLP’s team, co-led by Jan Erik Windthorst, who was made partner in May 2017, and Wolf Bussian, increased its bench strength significantly by adding Börries Ahrens from White & Case LLP and Alexander Behrens from Mayer Brown LLP in August 2016. The practice’s key strengths include handling cross-border investigations into possible market manipulation, antitrust violations and tax fraud; financial sector work is predominant in the latter segment. Magnus Müller was made counsel in May 2017.

Hengeler Mueller’s expertise covers fraud and corruption, antitrust and sanction violation matters alongside money laundering and social security status checks. In prominent work, the practice assisted Robert Bosch with an internal investigation into alleged emission manipulation in diesel cars, which included criminal and product liability issues. The team also advised an international engineering and planning services provider on a compliance investigation into procurement violations alongside corruption matters, and acted for another client in World Bank investigations on corruption and submission fraud. Key figures include Vera Jungkind and Dirk Uwer as well as Fabian Alexander Quast, who was made partner in January 2017.

Herbert Smith Freehills Germany LLP focuses on matters at the intersection of compliance and criminal law: Dirk Seiler acted for an international company in internal investigations into criminal activities, and advised a well-known client on corporate crimes, including bribery, breach of trust, corruption and money laundering committed by employees, suppliers and subcontractors. Helmut Görling assisted a financial services provider with internal investigations pertaining to alleged subsidy fraud, and advised a German automotive sector client on betrayal of business and trade secrets issues.

Following an inter-disciplinary approach, Reed Smith LLP assists national and international companies, including clients from the pharmaceutical, healthcare and energy industries, with matters arising from fraud and breach of trust allegations which are frequently brought against key management personnel. Rolf Hünermann is the main contact.

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