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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 > White-collar crime > Advice to companies > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

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

Leading individuals

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    • 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

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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.

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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

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to