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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 > White-collar crime > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Advice to companies

Index of tables

  1. White-collar crime: Advice to companies
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Heiko Ahlbrecht - Wessing & Partner
    • Felix Dörr - Felix Dörr (Dr) & Kollegen
    • Hanns Feigen - Feigen · Graf Rechtsanwälte
    • Heiner Hugger - Clifford Chance
    • Jürgen Wessing - Wessing & Partner

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Clifford Chance is particularly active in cross-border matters and acts for well-known financial institutions and large companies, which the team represents in white-collar crime and criminal tax law proceedings and, on the non-contentious side, advises on compliance-related matters. The team led by Heiner Hugger frequently acts in defence against allegations of tax evasion, embezzlement, corruption and market manipulation as well as alleged foreign trade violations. Frankfurt-based David Pasewaldt was made counsel.

With a leading reputation in the white-collar crime market, Feigen · Graf Rechtsanwälte is well versed in defending companies and individuals in various criminal proceedings. The team, which includes highly respected partners Walther Graf, Bernd Groß and Hanns Feigen represents its clients in a number of high-profile proceedings that routinely address allegations of breach of trust, corruption and insider trading as well as insolvency, tax and environmental offences. This includes the representation of Deutsche Bank in CO2 emissions trading proceedings and assistance with various preliminary investigations. Tilman Reichling is also recommended.

The team at Wessing & Partner utilises its ‘well-known expertise’ ‘in a pragmatic and goal-oriented way’ and is noted for its ‘high competence and reliability’, leading to a diverse client base consisting of banks, leading international manufacturing groups and mid-sized companies. Its broad offering ranges from accounting and criminal tax work to defending against allegations of money laundering, corruption and investment fraud brought by company staff, clients and competitors. In matters of the former, Jürgen Wessing acts as the main contact, while Heiko Ahlbrecht is frequently called to national and cross-border corruption and criminal tax law proceedings; Ahlbrecht is also ‘a distinguished connoisseur of the white-collar crime market and a valuable advisor, providing advice that can be implemented immediately’. In the non-contentious space, the team handles a growing number of compliance instructions, including internal investigations, and Matthias Dann regularly assists clients with medical criminal matters. Ingo Bott is now a salaried partner.

DLA Piper stands out for its expertise in handling cross-border instructions, which frequently include compliance elements and are dealt with in co-operation with colleagues from its global network. Large manufacturing groups in particular benefit from the team’s capabilities in preventative advisory work and its expertise in criminal proceedings, and, as a result, regularly instruct the team to assist with internal investigations and with the defence against allegations of corruption, bribery and breach of trust, among others. In recent work, the team advised a company on matters pertaining to the suspicion of corrupt payments, and assisted a different client with the suspicion of a breach of trust against an executive body member. The team has also been devoting more of its time to product compliance matters and to investigation assistance in product liability proceedings. Jürgen Taschke and Christian Schoop are the main contacts.

Commended for its wide-ranging experience, Dr. Felix Dörr & Kollegen acts for various companies from the banking and financial sectors alongside manufacturing groups. Thus, the team routinely handles accounting and criminal tax law litigation and defence proceedings against allegations of billing fraud, customs and foreign trade offences. Felix Dörr is the main contact, while Christian Schubert is recommended for criminal product liability work.

The team at Knierim und Krug Rechtsanwälte assists its client base, which predominately consists of manufacturing groups and financial services providers, in internal investigations and preventative compliance matters, and represents them in white-collar crime proceedings, most notably those based on corruption, breach of trust and fraud allegations. Björn Krug represented a public sector company in proceedings pertaining to the former two segments, and defended a northern German food company against fraud allegations. Thomas Knierim acted for a consultancy firm in breach of trust litigation, while newly promoted partner Astrid Lilie-Hutz assisted a manufacturer of medical devices with an internal investigation and with matters pertaining to corruption allegations. Anna Oehmichen was also elevated to the partnership and Claudius Geisler, previously at the University of Mainz, now acts as of counsel.

Specialised white-collar crime firm Thomas, Deckers, Wehnert & Elsner offers a wide range of services that benefit companies and individuals alike. The practice regularly represents companies from the manufacturing and financial industries in criminal tax, commercial and environmental proceedings and also has many years of experience in handling criminal cartel law and stock exchange-related offences. Founding partner Sven Thomas retired in early 2017 but still acts as of counsel, particularly in instructions handed over to the recommended Anne Wehnert. Thomas Elsner and Rüdiger Deckers are also recommended. Simone Kämpfer joined Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in December 2017.

VBB Rechtsanwälte has many years of experience representing both companies and individuals, with a focus on providing white-collar crime compliance advice and assistance with internal investigations. This expertise is regularly demonstrated in the team’s handling of accounting and capital investment fraud proceedings, insolvency offences alongside criminal competition and antitrust matters, as well as corruption allegations, among others. Markus Berndt represented thyssenkrupp in preliminary investigations against Atlas Elektronik on suspicion of corruption, which indirectly affected the conglomerate as a shareholder of Atlas. Renate Verjans and Marcus Böttger are names to note.

Dierlamm Rechtsanwälte has extensive expertise in defending auditing firms, financial institutions, manufacturing groups and public sector bodies in investigative, interim, main and revision proceedings, and is also well versed in handling compliance investigations. ‘Experienced’ defence lawyer Alfred Dierlamm acts in white-collar crime, criminal tax and accounting litigation and also deals with insolvency and criminal labour law-related matters.

Eisenmann Wahle Birk & Weidner is particularly well established in southern Germany, where the team advises manufacturing groups and various financial institutions on preventative measures and represents companies in criminal commercial and tax law litigation alongside corruption proceedings. Eberhard Wahle, Uwe Holzapfel and Olaf Hohmann are the key figures.

Herbert Smith Freehills Germany LLP’s broad offering consists of three main components: firstly, the team represents companies affected by white-collar crime in court and out-of-court proceedings for the assertion of damage claims in cases of corruption, fraud and cybercrime, insolvency offences, as well as the betrayal of business and trade secrets; second, the team defends companies against such criminal charges; and third, advises on criminal compliance matters. Helmut Görling, who is ‘very good’ in handling asset tracing work, represented a financial institution in proceedings for subsidy fraud, which included assistance with internal investigations alongside the tracking and freezing of assets domestically and abroad, and acted for Deufol in corruption and breach of trust proceedings against a former CEO. In other significant work, Dirk Seiler acted for an manufacturing group in matters pertaining to corporate crimes committed by employees, suppliers and subcontractors such as fraud, breach of trust, corruption and money laundering, and advised a financial sector client on Panama Papers-related issues.

As well as its experience in defending individuals, Krause & Kollegen is also a respected player for company defence work and was recently able to attract attention for assisting the German Football Association (DFB) with matters pertaining to the suspected tax evasion of several board members. Other clients include construction companies, banks and auditing firms, which also receive preventative advice. Daniel Krause and Alexandra Wagner are names to note.

Noerr’s ‘strong and dedicated’ team has considerable clout in the white-collar crime and criminal tax law arena and ‘always strives to find practical solutions’. It acts for companies as injured parties and in defence against various allegations, while, on the non-contentious side, it also possesses strong compliance capabilities, leading to regular instructions at this interface including advice on criminal risk and the implementation of compliance programmes and assistance with internal investigations. The recommended Christian Pelz defended a listed company in a preliminary investigation into allegations of corruption in various Asian and African states, while the ‘very professional and efficient’ Lars Kutzner represented a manufacturer of connectors in criminal employment, tax and social security proceedings for the potential incorrect implementation of partial retirement schemes. In other recent work, recommended senior associate Steffi Kindler acted for an international automation technology company in criminal proceedings on suspected corruption offences committed by sales associates.

The team at White & Case LLP benefits from its international network, most notably to the US, when handling cross-border instructions and demonstrates its strength when dealing with matters at the intersection of corporate defence and compliance. This white-collar crime and criminal tax law expertise is routinely called upon by financial sector players and other well-known clients from various industries when faced with criminal proceedings, compliance matters and internal investigations. Recently, Karl-Jörg Xylander assisted a client with matters pertaining to suspected money laundering and Nils Clemm defended a different client in criminal proceedings. Constantin Lauterwein was made local partner in the Berlin office.

Klinkert Rechtsanwälte PartGmbB’s team is led by Marijon Kayßer, who advises national and international companies as well as individuals on a wide range of white-collar crime and criminal tax law matters, frequently containing cross-border elements, alongside preventative measures including the implementation of compliance programmes, while also having litigation capabilities. She acts for clients affected by investigations and damaged parties in fraud, breach of trust and corruption-related proceedings and also handles matters pertaining to insolvency and accounting offences.

Offering preventative and reactive assistance, Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH’s clients frequently instruct André Große Vorholt, who ‘is a well-respected figure in Munich’ and also acts as ombudsman. Regular instructions include acting for associations, mid-sized companies, large corporations and public sector bodies in internal and cross-border investigations as well as in defence against white-collar crime and criminal tax law allegations.


Advice to individuals

Index of tables

  1. White-collar crime: Advice to individuals
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Felix Dörr - Felix Dörr (Dr) & Kollegen
    • Hanns Feigen - Feigen · Graf Rechtsanwälte
    • Daniel Krause - Krause & Kollegen
    • Anne Wehnert - Thomas, Deckers, Wehnert & Elsner

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Philipp Gehrmann - Krause & Kollegen
    • Ulf Reuker - Park Wirtschaftsstrafrecht
    • Thomas Richter - HammPartner Rechtsanwälte
    • Daniel Travers - Krause & Kollegen

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Advice to individuals clients in Germany using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

The team at Dr. Felix Dörr & Kollegen handles a broad range of white-collar crime work and demonstrates particular expertise in accounting and tax law proceedings, as well as in defending clients against allegations of accounting fraud, customs and foreign trade offences. Felix Dörr acted for former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn in dieselgate market manipulation investigations, defending him against allegations of having failed to pass on information in time about possible financial consequences arising from the exhaust gas scandal. The recommended Christian Schubert is experienced in representing individuals in criminal litigation and penalty proceedings, most notably those including scientific and technical elements.

Recognised by clients and peers alike, Feigen · Graf Rechtsanwälte is one of the leading law firms for white-collar crime. Its fine reputation is based on its frequent representations of CEOs and managing directors of well-known companies in prominent proceedings on one hand, and, on the involvement of highly regarded ‘shining light’ Hanns Feigen on the other. Together with Walther Graf, he represented ex-Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking in criminal proceedings before the Regional Court of Stuttgart, defending him against allegations of market manipulation resulting in an acquittal. The client was accused of having deceived the markets and, so doing, having bought VW shares for a lower price. In equally noteworthy work, the team defended the former managing director of the construction company Imtech Deutschland against bribery allegations before the Regional Court of Cottbus. Bernd Groß is also recommended.

HammPartner Rechtsanwälte stands out for its broad white-collar crime expertise on one hand, which includes criminal product liability, medical criminal law, foreign trade and environmental criminal law, and its well-balanced age structure on the other, whereby younger partners are equally well established in the market and routinely represent physicians and executives from the manufacturing and credit industries. Together with Bea Rath, who left the firm and joined the civil service, Rainer Hamm defended a former steel industry manager in criminal proceedings pertaining to the rail cartel before the Regional Court of Bochum. In environmental criminal law, Regina Michalke and Thomas Richter represented one of seven defendants against allegations to have illegally disposed 900,000 tonnes of waste into the Vehlitz clay surface mine. Stefan Kirsch is recommended.

Utilising its comprehensive criminal law expertise, kempf schilling Rechtsanwälte GbR defends clients at all stages of criminal proceedings. Recently, the ‘immensely experienced’ Eberhard Kempf represented Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller in preliminary proceedings for possible capital markets manipulation, which was initiated by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) and based on the suspicion that the provision of information to investors about the possible financial consequences stemming from dieselgate was deliberately delayed. Hellen Schilling is recommended.

As well as its expertise in representing individuals such as directors, managers and CEOs, boutique firm Krause & Kollegen is also well versed in assisting companies with criminal law matters including preventative measures. Daniel Krause and Alexandra Wagner are names to note, while Philipp Gehrmann and Daniel Travers are also recommended.

Dierlamm Rechtsanwälte has the representation of auditors, tax advisors, lawyers, notaries and physicians at its core; this expertise led to several recent defence mandates: the team acted for two Ernst & Young-employees, and, with ‘experienced’ defence lawyer Alfred Dierlamm in the lead, it defended several consultants in Cum-Ex-related proceedings. The team also receives regular instructions from bank directors and employees in the face of fraud and breach of trust allegations as well as tax, corruption and insolvency criminal law issues. Eva Racky is recommended.

Leitner & Partner is frequently called upon to defend board members, supervisory boards and other individuals in leading positions in a number of criminal proceedings and was recently able to attract attention by representing several well-known sports sector clients: the team continues to act for Franz Beckenbauer in matters pertaining to possible irregularities occurring during the process of awarding the World Cup to Germany, and provides regular advice to FC Bayern München and several of its players. As well as its expertise in defending clients including lawyers and tax advisors against breach of trust and corruption allegations, the team often acts in criminal tax and foreign trade law proceedings, while putting significant emphasis on preventative advice. In criminal tax law, the team has been assisting a number of well-known clients with Cum-Ex-related matters. Founding partner Werner Leitner is a name to note.

Criminal law boutique Thomas, Deckers, Wehnert & Elsner is dedicated to white-collar crime and criminal tax law and acts for an extensive client roster consisting of individuals from the business and political sectors and freelance professionals alongside commercial and manufacturing companies and banks; regular instructions include defending clients in criminal proceedings and providing preventative compliance advice. As well as its criminal tax expertise, the team also advises on matters pertaining to medical and environmental criminal law alongside mandates involving foreign trade and customs offences. Highly regarded founding partner Sven Thomas, who retired in early 2017 but still acts as counsel, and Udo Wackernagel represented former Arcandor CEO Thomas Middelhoff in breach of trust proceedings before the Higher Regional Court of Hamm, defending him against the allegation of having made payments from Arcandor to the University of Oxford shortly before leaving the company. Anne Wehnert is another name to note.

VBB Rechtsanwälte has expertise in handling defence mandates for individuals as well as companies and is well equipped to advise clients on compliance matters. This leads to regular instructions from board and supervisory board members, managing directors and freelance professionals to act in accounting fraud proceedings and litigation pertaining to alleged capital investment fraud and insolvency offences. Markus Berndt and Malaika Nolde were involved in rail cartel-related criminal proceedings before the Regional Court of Bochum, and Renate Verjans represented the sports official and former DFB president Wolfgang Niersbach before the FIFA ethics committee.

Despite Wessing & Partner’s focus on advising and representing companies, the team is also adept at assisting individuals with white-collar crime and criminal tax law proceedings and compliance matters - the latter being an area of growth for the practice - as well as internal investigations. Regular instructions include representing board members, senior executives and managing directors in breach of trust, corruption and fraud proceedings, and defending clients against allegations of the betrayal of trade and company secrets. In the medical criminal space, the team benefits from Matthias Dann’s deep expertise; he frequently defends physicians against allegations of accounting fraud, among other accusations. Jürgen Wessing also acts in accounting fraud procedures, while Heiko Ahlbrecht is the main contact for corruption and criminal tax matters, including cross-border instructions such as Cum-Ex proceedings. Ingo Bott was made salaried partner.

Frankfurt-based criminal law boutique Dannenfeldt & Rumpf Rechtsanwälte defends clients at all stages of criminal proceedings, which frequently cover allegations of bribery, corruption and customs offences, while also advising companies on criminal tax and compliance matters. Eva Dannenfeldt specialises in medical and environmental criminal law alongside foreign trade law and is experienced in representing clients in corruption and breach of trust proceedings; she represented a client in preliminary proceedings by the public prosecutor’s office of Bremen on the suspicion of corruption at Atlas Elektronik. In other significant work, the team defended a former Deutsche Bank employee against tax fraud allegations regarding CO2 certificate trading techniques; the client was accused of having assisted a group of fraudulent CO2 certificate traders with cheating the tax authorities. Alexander Rumpf is another key figure of the team; he predominately acts for executives from mid-sized health and renewable energy sector companies, as well as capital investment and insurance industry players.

Eisenmann Wahle Birk & Weidner is particularly well established in southern Germany, where the team provides clients with extensive criminal law advice and represents them in litigation. As a prominent instruction, the team represented Lars Schlecker, son of drugstore chain founder Anton Schlecker, in proceedings before the Regional Court of Stuttgart, defending him against allegations of bankruptcy and delaying insolvency proceedings as well as fraud. Eberhard Wahle, Uwe Holzapfel and Olaf Hohmann are recommended.

With an office in Berlin, Freyschmidt Frings Pananis Venn continues to put its geographical focus on the capital city but the team has recently also been able to expand its reach to the rest of the country. The team’s core strengths include acting in defence against allegations of bribery, breach of trust and fraud, as demonstrated by Guido Frings’ representation of a former division manager of an airport operator company before the Regional Court of Cottbus, in defence against the allegation of having accepted bribery payments amounting to €150,000. In other regular work, Uwe Freyschmidt acts for registered and employed physicians against accounting fraud allegations, and Panos Pananis assists clients with contentious banking matters. Nikolai Venn is another key member of the team.

Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek is one of few major law firms that managed to establish itself in the individual defence space; an area otherwise dominated by boutiques. Andre Szesny’s team, which gained further impetus with the arrival of Hanno Kiesel from Ernst & Young, represents managing directors and executive boards of large and medium-sized corporations in various criminal tax and white-collar crime proceedings: recently, the team defended a former board member of a financial institution in preliminary proceedings for tax evasion initiated by the public prosecutor’s office of Düsseldorf, and, also on the defence side, it acted for a former member of the supervisory board of a trading and tourism company in a criminal procedure for breach of trust with respect to various bonus payments granted to members of the executive board. In other work, a private exchange trader instructed the team to act in various criminal, penalty and sanction-related proceedings, in defence against allegations of market manipulation brought by the public prosecutor’s office of Frankfurt, the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) and the sanctions committee of Eurex. Susanne Stauder defended a managing director in preliminary proceedings for gang and commercial smuggling.

Ignor & Partner GbR is best known for handling proceedings in the political space, which includes Alexander Ignor’s advice to the German Bundesrat (Federal Council) on proceedings concerning the prohibition of the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), but the team is also considered to be a good contact for criminal law and penalty proceedings. Main contacts for medical criminal law Jörg Rehmsmeier and Annika Dießner routinely act for clients faced with accounting fraud allegations.

With particular expertise in white-collar crime, accounting and criminal tax law, Knierim und Krug Rechtsanwälte receives regular instructions from management board members and other senior executives as well as physicians. Recently, Björn Krug defended two managing directors of an energy company against allegations of corruption, and defended a managing director of a consultancy firm against tax fraud allegations. Similarly, a Deutsche Bank employee instructed the team, this time with newly promoted salaried partner Astrid Lilie-Hutz in the lead, to act in tax fraud matters. In other significant work, the practice defended one of Maple Bank’s managing directors against Cum-Ex-related allegations, while the frequently recommended Thomas Knierim represented a shareholder of a holding company in proceedings pertaining to insider trading. Anna Oehmichen was elevated to the partnership and of counsel Claudius Geisler joined the team from the University of Mainz.

Park Wirtschaftsstrafrecht’s team led by Tido Park is best known for the representation of individuals and companies in corruption, breach of trust and criminal tax law proceedings and in defence against allegations of capital markets offences. In significant work, the team acted for an advisor in Cum-Ex-related matters, and defended Herbert Diess, chairman of the Volkswagen passenger cars brand, against market manipulation allegations. Ulf Reuker is recommended.

Prof Dr Salditt’s one-man practice is experienced in handling criminal tax law and white-collar crime work, as recently demonstrated by representing Carl Friedrich Janssen, ex-chairman of the now-liquidated Arcandor Group, in breach of trust proceedings, defending the client against allegations of having unjustifiably made bonus payments to Thomas Middelhoff.

Schiller & Kollegen predominately represents employees and board members from the manufacturing and financial industries in breach of trust, fraud and corruption proceedings and defends them against alleged tax, accounting and customs law offences. Dealing with unauthorised employee leasing matters and insurance-related proceedings constitutes another key element of the practice. Wolf Schiller is the key figure.

The team at Compart & Schmidt GbR is jointly led by Eddo Compart and Konrad Schmidt, who handle a wide range of criminal tax, white-collar crime and environmental criminal law work including the representation of individuals against allegations of illegal price fixing, corruption, breach of trust and bribery. The team recently demonstrated this expertise in representing a Ford employee in corruption proceedings stemming from a freight forwarding contract between DB Schenker and car manufacturer Ford. Allegedly, Russian customs officers received bribes to speed up the transport of car parts to the plant near St. Petersburg.

Specialising in criminal law, Fachanwälte für Strafrecht am Potsdamer Platzhas a good reputation in Berlin’, is ‘very reliable’ and ‘directs its attention to the essentials’. It represents individuals in commercial criminal and criminal tax law proceedings, while Sebastian Vogel brings medical criminal law capabilities to the team. Recently, the team defended a compliance officer of a German defence company against allegations of illegally intercepting the communications of the chief executive officer of the foreign parent company, and Rainer Frank, who ‘reacts quickly in critical situations and is pleasant to deal with’, represented Gabriela Leyh, managing director of Barmer GEK Berlin-Brandenburg, in preliminary proceedings covering the allegation of bribery pertaining to KV Berlin’s risk structure compensation benefits. While court representations form a significant portion of the team’s workload, preventative advisory instructions including compliance mandates are on the increase. The ‘pleasant, knowledgeable and service-oriented’ Niklas Auffermann represented a former customs officer in preliminary proceedings and in defence against allegations of customs offences.


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