Compliance in Germany

Baker McKenzie

Clients value Baker McKenzie’s ‘pragmatism’ and ‘excellent responsiveness’. They benefit from the uncomplicated cross-border cooperation, with the German group being the compliance centre for the EMEA region, and from the good teamwork with colleagues from public, antitrust and IT law. Particularly noteworthy is the practice group’s development of the so-called Compliance Cockpit, a system using a self-programmed algorithm which carries out global risk analyses and checks the status of compliance management systems; it was put to use in the review and revision of a chemical company’s global compliance management system. In another highlight, the group assisted a company from the automotive industry with the introduction of a compliance training system and with the implementation of compliance training courses in a number of countries. Andreas Lohner is regarded as ‘top in compliance matters’. Nicolai Behr, who contributed significantly to the development of the Compliance Cockpit, made partner. Thomas Grützner joined Latham & Watkins LLP.

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance covers a wide range of areas, with a particular focus on preventive advice in the areas of anti-corruption and money laundering, financial sanctions and export controls as well as tax compliance and healthcare. The client base is similarly diverse and the practice has an excellent reputation among peers. The work often has interfaces to tax, corporate, employment and data protection law, among others, and the cooperation on both a national and international level works very well. The highly regarded Heiner Hugger heads the German white-collar, regulatory and compliance group and has extensive experience in the field; most recently, he advised various companies on anti-corruption compliance issues in connection with invitations addressed to foreign officials. In addition, he and his team advise a number of industrial groups and banks on compliance measures concerning an intended entry into an Iranian business under EU and US financial sanctions, as well as on conducting business with other sanctioned countries. Peter Dieners is also recommended.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Norbert Nolte’s strong team at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has an excellent reputation in the market and covers all areas of compliance consulting, from planning through to due diligence and contract drafting. The group has a cross-practice approach based on close cooperation with colleagues from areas such as corporate, antitrust and tax law; its ability to leverage its international network also makes it a popular choice with clients. It assists national and international companies from various sectors with issues relating to matters regarding antitrust compliance and investigations and with the development, implementation and monitoring of appropriate compliance programmes. Recently, the team acted for Airbus Defence and Space in connection with a criminal complaint filed by the Federal Ministry of Defence in Austria. Other clients include BSN medical and Axel Springer. Marius Berenbrok is also recommended. Tobias Larisch joined Latham & Watkins LLP.

Hogan Lovells International LLP

Hogan Lovells International LLPhas an extensive network of experts at its disposal’. The compliance group, which includes specialists from the automotive, life sciences, technology, media and communications industry groups, is recognised for its ‘situational advice’. It has seen an increase in mandates from financial institutions. The group has experience in building and implementing global compliance systems, including the development of policies, processes and the implementation of whistleblowing structures, as well as business partner compliance. It is also praised for its ‘very good’ in-house training. Désirée Maier, who is ‘particularly good’, made partner and most recently conducted a compliance management system adequacy audit at a group of companies. Sebastian Lach leads the practice and is also noted.

Pohlmann & Company

Boutique firm Pohlmann & Companyis a real force in the specialist field of compliance’. Clients appreciate the ‘professional and at the same time personal cooperation’ as well as the ‘very good industry knowledge’. The range of services includes support in setting up, implementing and testing the effectiveness of compliance management systems, as well as advising board members on how to deal with compliance problems. The team can also draw on expertise in environmental and real estate law. The firm’s good network with the US is showcased by a renewed instruction as an independent monitor; the ‘outstandingAndreas Pohlmann and his team were appointed German counsel to the monitor (VW monitor Larry Thompson who was appointed by US authorities) to advise in particular on compliance-related issues in German law. Horst Schlemminger is assisting an environmental management company with ensuring compliance with all regulations when rehabilitating an industrial site. In another highlight, Thomas Preute, who is recognised for ‘providing responses and identifying problems swiftly’, is conducting an M&A compliance due diligence for a private equity firm. Anita Schieffer joined from Siemens and Christian Beer and Julia Kahlenberg were promoted to the partnership. Eric Mayer moved to GSK Stockmann.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper’s compliance team has extensive expertise in advising international companies on the implementation of compliance programmes and on the subsequent training of employees. It is also increasingly involved in reviewing existing data protection systems in connection with the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and has also noted an increasing number of instructions concerning reputation management. Christian Schoop is well versed in the development of compliance management systems and has a considerable client portfolio; he recently assisted an insurance group with alleged tax evasion and lack of notification in numerous jurisdictions, a process that required smooth coordination. In addition, he recently advised a company on the introduction of a tax compliance system. Jürgen Taschke also enjoys a very good market reputation, and is experienced in handling white-collar criminal defence issues. Senior associate Daniel Zapf led advice on several matters; for example, he was instructed by a German company to advise on the update and extension of anti-money laundering compliance.

Gleiss Lutz

Gleiss Lutz always provides ‘adequate, accurate and prudent risk assessments’, and is valued by clients for its ‘impressive industry knowledge’ and for providing ‘real value for money’. The group is experienced in directors’ liability issues, investigations and crisis management as well as the pharmaceutical and medical, media, consumer goods and increasingly automotive sectors. Thanks to the firm’s full service offering, internal investigations can be handled comprehensively, with particular emphasis on areas touching upon antitrust law, but also increasingly upon data protection. Christian Steinle assisted BuyIn, a strategic procurement joint venture of Deutsche Telekom and Orange, with bribery allegations against the telecoms supplier ZTE. Eike Bicker stands out for his ‘precise advice with an eye for the essentials and the client’s needs’; he advised Deutsche Beteiligungs AG on compliance issues relating to M&A transactions, and assisted Merz Pharma with export control matters. Marcus Reischl stands out for his ‘extraordinary commitment and sound legal expertise’.


With ‘a good feel for the essentials and economic concerns’, Noerr advises a range of clients on the development and implementation of compliance management systems, and routinely carries out relevant reviews and adjustments. Recently, a team led by practice head Torsten Fett advised the supervisory board of Deutsche Börse on suspicions of insider trading. In other work the group assisted with the creation and design of a money laundering compliance system for Deutsche Bahn. The ‘very goodLars Kutzner was instructed by several airlines, and, in a separate matter, advised an energy company on an internal investigation centred on misconduct by a subsidiary’s management board. Martin Schorn, who is highly regarded by clients, carried out a money laundering risk analysis for a private equity company. Fabian Badtke, Christian Pelz and Bärbel Sachs are also recommended.

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP has great expertise in assisting with strategic and contentious matters in the areas of compliance and internal investigations, and acts for a wide range of national and international clients. Karl-Jörg Xylander, the ‘commemded’ practice head, is experienced in advising on criminal law as well as corporate and tax law; recently, he assisted an automotive supplier with the revision of corporate and global compliance guidelines. He also advised a steel industry company on the introduction of a money laundering compliance programme in view of the revised money laundering act. Nils Clemm, who is experienced in white-collar criminal law, advises a number of financial institutions. Constantin Lauterwein recently assisted a bank with sanctions compliance issues and trained employees on conducting business with Iran. Camill Carl Sander left the firm to work as legal counsel at Volkswagen.


With its large and diversified team, CMS is well positioned in the market and can offer specialist advice on antitrust, tax and labour law issues. In addition to general compliance advice, practice head Harald Potinecke focuses on the introduction and implementation of compliance management programmes, including the organisation and implementation of worldwide ombudsperson and reporting systems. He assisted a foreign construction company with the implementation of such a programme and also advised on the development, implementation and execution of a comprehensive training programme. Petra Schaffner and Joachim Kaetzler are also experienced contacts. Counsel Laura Görtz joined the group from Noerr.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Gibson Dunn’s compliance practice is valued for its ‘very good industry knowledge and ability to build relationships of trusts’ with clients. It assists with anti-corruption, money laundering prevention and export control procedures, and also covers data protection compliance and crisis management. The client base consists primarily of DAX 30 and S&P 500 companies and benefits from the team’s experience in reviewing internal controls and compliance, and in compliance monitorships. For example, the group was instructed by Daimler to conduct internal investigations requiring multi-jurisdictional and cross-practice cooperation. Ferdinand Fromholzer, recognised for his ‘broad, valuable experience’, assisted a consulting firm with a compliance investigation. At partner level, the large team of experts includes Finn Zeidler, who was a new arrival from Latham & Watkins LLP in May 2017, and Benno Schwarz. Former prosecutor Ralf van Ermingen-Marbach joined the team in November 2018. Markus Rieder was a new arrival in November 2019 from Latham & Watkins LLP.

Hengeler Mueller

Hengeler Mueller has great expertise in advising on compliance violations, for example fraud, corruption, insider trading and market manipulation, but also insolvency offences, regulatory violations and sanctions violations. The firm works closely with other practice groups on regular cross-border instructions, and is active across a wide range of industry sectors. Vera Jungkind advises on the data protection obligations of a Department of Justice monitor under German law, while corporate law expert Maximilan Schiessl was instructed by a DAX 30 company to assist the supervisory board with antitrust allegations and with the compliance structure. In addition, Wolfgang Spoerr advises a number of banks on various issues and assisted, together with Jan Bonhage, Nord Stream 2 AG with questions pertaining to US sanctions and foreign trade law. Dirk Uwer is also recommended.


Within its internationally well-connected global investigations and white-collar criminal law group, Linklaters places particular emphasis on compliance requirements in the area of data protection and the numerous international regulatory changes that this area entails; however, it also advises on corporate compliance and on issues that have a relation to tax or antitrust law. The group carries out ongoing monitoring for Bilfinger, and regularly assists the supervisory board of Deutsche Bank with supervisory investigations and disputes. In addition, it acts for various banks in investigative proceedings concerning alleged cum-ex trading. The client portfolio also includes Beiersdorf, HSH Beteiligungs Management and Gesco. Practice head Hans-Ulrich Wilsing, antitrust lawyer Daniela Seeliger, data protection expert Daniel Pauly and litigator Robert Henrici are key figures in the practice.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

The compliance team at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP has particular experience in advising board members and supervisory boards on corporate law issues, in particular fraud, corruption, money laundering, export controls and related sanctions. The group also benefits from good cooperation with the conflict resolution practice, especially in directors’ liability cases, and from a strong international network, which is particularly advantageous for US-related instructions. Practice head Bernd Mayer has a good reputation and advises Daimler on the ongoing investigation by the US Department of Justice into the emissions scandal. He also assists a number of banks with compliance issues. The practice saw the departure of Lutz Zimmer.

Herbert Smith Freehills GmbH

Herbert Smith Freehills Germany LLP’s ‘highly specialised and focused’ compliance group provides ‘an outstanding level of service’. It covers the entire spectrum from the development and implementation of systems for compliance management and whistleblowing, through to asset tracing at home and abroad, and the defence of measures by supervisory authorities. Dirk Seiler, who is recognised in the market, has ‘the necessary knowledge of criminal procedural issues in preventive consulting for companies’ and is ‘equally result and cost-conscious’. In a cross-border instruction, he advised an automotive industry company on compliance issues. In addition, the team routinely assists Microsoft with preventive advice on the avoidance of criminal and reputational risks. Senior associate Enno Appel is valued for his ‘very pragmatic approach’.

Latham & Watkins LLP

Latham & Watkins LLP is ‘highly commended’ for its cooperation with clients. The integrated, cross-practice team is able to cover the full range of compliance issues, including advice on corruption prevention, antitrust law, data protection as well as sanctions and customs duties. A team of compliance and corporate lawyers are advising Stada Arzneimittel on an internal investigation into the alleged breach of a position of trust and breaches of executive board duties by former management. Tobias Larisch joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Finn Zeidler moved to Gibson Dunn. Former practice head Markus Rieder also joined Gibson Dunn in November 2019.

Taylor Wessing

Taylor Wessing offers ‘a high level of service’ and positions itself well in the market with the firm’s full-service offering, and is particularly noted for compliance advice. While covering various sectors, it is particularly experienced in advising on data protection and human resources. The group advises a large e-commerce group on the development and implementation of GDPR compliance. Mike Goldammers is adept at China-related issues; he recently assisted a construction supplier with the development of a comprehensive China-related compliance management system, including on-site training and advice on privacy and antitrust issues. The team is led by Dirk Lorenz and supported by a number of data protection and labour law experts, including the notable Detlef Klett and Oliver Bertram. Jan-Patrick Vogel made salary partner.

AGS Legal

AGS Legal’s compliance practice acts mainly for companies from the real estate, plant engineering and mechanical engineering sectors, but also increasingly sees instructions in the IT and technology sector and in the financial industry. The group is valued for its cross-practice approach, which is reflected in the close cooperation of white-collar crime, labour and data protection lawyers. It is experienced in representing board members in compliance liability cases, internal investigations and in dealing with deliberate corporate damage. Practice head Jan Kappel combines civil and criminal law expertise and advised Vodafone on compliance systems and operational decisions. He also represented the former head of Volkswagen’s diesel engine development department in connection with internal investigations. Jan Ehling is representing hidden champions in a number of cases and is also experienced in handling investigations into breach of trust, corruption and fraud. Most recently, he assisted a public limited company with the processing of various breaches of duty in connection with a project abroad.


Dentons’ compliance team is well versed in advising on corporate governance issues as well as corporate reorganisations and restructurings. It also covers the review of existing compliance systems and whistleblowing management. Rainer Markfort primarily acts for clients in the construction and automotive sectors, while of counsel Christian Schefold advises a number of international groups from the automotive, healthcare and financial services sectors on the implementation of compliance management systems. Corporate lawyer Michael Malterer is the key contact for anti-corruption issues.

GSK Stockmann

GSK Stockmann specialises in compliance advice in the areas of corporate and banking, and also has expertise in regulatory and data protection issues. It saw the addition of Eric Mayer, who joined from Pohlmann & Company in December 2017; he advised Vetter Pharma on the further development of a compliance management system. He also assisted Statkraft with compliance risk analyses for various pilot projects. Together with Christian Schmidt, Mayer heads the practice group, which includes counsel Gerhard Gündel as well as Harald Feiler, who was recently also appointed counsel.

KPMG Law Germany

KPMG Law Germany provides the full spectrum of compliance advice, covering everything from strategy development and the organisation of compliance systems to reviews and investigations. The group works closely with other practice groups as well as with the global compliance practice and benefits from its network with the auditing part of the firm. Konstantin von Busekist is regarded as a highly experienced consultant and has particular expertise in the area of management liability. In recent work, he undertook a group-wide risk analysis for Bilfinger concerning anti-corruption as part of a monitoring procedure in the US. He was also assisted a DAX 30 company with a group-wide risk analysis, in this case with reference to antitrust law, anti-corruption, money laundering and foreign trade law. In addition, he is advising Rewe on the conception and design of a business partner process. Ulrich Thölke focuses on internal investigations; a recent client was Apassionata. Bernd Federmann made partner in October 2018.

Simmons & Simmons

Simmons & Simmons LLP advises national and international clients on compliance issues, including all aspects of criminal, tax, litigation, civil, data protection and labour law. Hans-Hermann Aldenhoff also heads the litigation department of the firm and is adept at acting in criminal proceedings. Sascha Kuhn has a similar background; together with Pohlmann & Company, the group is part of the advisory team of Larry Thompson, the monitor appointed by the US Department of Justice concerning the emissions scandal. Kuhn also advised B. Braun on money laundering matters; assisted a Chinese group with European data protection law; and took over the external management of the GDPR compliance implementation for an insurance company.


Clients value WilmerHale’s ‘focused work and reliability’; the practice group has particular expertise in advising blue chip companies on compliance issues, ranging from anti-corruption, antitrust and competition law, environmental regulation and export control law through to investment and tax law. It also acts for supervisory boards in corporate governance matters and for banks in internal investigations. The ‘excellent’ team assists Daimler’s supervisory board with diesel emissions regulations, and advises another well-known automobile manufacturer on sales compliance matters. Roland Steinmeyer is recognised for his ‘excellent understanding of strategic and political issues’; he advises the supervisory board of a bank on claims for damages against former members. Jan Wendler made special counsel. Christian Crones is another key figure in the team.