JUVE Law Firm of the year

Compliance Audits and Investigations

The shine is off: soccer and the auto industry

There may have been something amiss when Germany was awarded the soccer World Cup. This speculation is now public knowledge following an in-house investigation – an instruction which saw the senior investigator, Freshfields partner Prof. Dr. Christian Duve, make an appearance on the evening news. Between them, DFB, FIFA and IAAF opened up a completely new playing field for legal advisors: sport. A huge blow was dealt to another industry when the diesel scandal emerged: it soon became clear that VW is not the only manufacturer to publicize overly optimistic figures for its exhaust values.

The finance industry is also struggling to find calm; more and more banks are finding themselves in the investigators’ firing line, esp. when it comes to dividend stripping. There may yet be more discomfort to come as the German Financial Supervisory Law started offering protection to whistleblowers under employment and criminal law in summer 2016.

Compliance practices busier than ever before

It has long been no secret that an extensive investigation can be a good earner, but it remains to be seen where and to what extent the money will ultimately flow in the diesel affair. The VW instruction certainly also highlights the importance of having a strong US presence: Jones Day, the firm for which the auto manufacturer opted, has not yet played a significant role in the German compliance market, while Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer took on the part played outside the US. White & Case (also active for VW), Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom also benefited once more from their US connections.

Mittelstand firms flourishing

By contrast, Magic Circle firms such as Clifford Chance, Linklaters and Allen & Overy as well as firms such as Gleiss Lutz and Hengeler Mueller generally have to make do with instructions without US links. However, Gleiss Lutz, Allen & Overy and Linklaters demonstrate that a solid network and strategic resolve can be enough to expand market share in cross-border business beyond the US. Especially in national instructions, firms with a greater Mittelstand orientation are finding it easier to get their foot in the door. Outfits such as AC Tischendorf, Kapellmann und Partner, Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek and Beiten Burkhardt can often rely on their criminal or antitrust expertise to gain access to Mittelstand companies, which are gradually developing a greater awareness of compliance. In terms of staff, everything remained rather calm. Herbert Smith Freehills was the only firm to cause a stir: after gaining a team headed by Dr. Helmut Görling from AGS Acker Schmalz, this British firm found its relatively young presence gaining access to attractive instructions in Germany.



This chapter includes those firms which offer interdisciplinary advice and which are involved in reviewing or establishing compliance structures as preventive measures or which deal with serious allegations. A separate overview presents firms which have been primarily involved in a specific area of compliance work. Other firms that deal with individual compliance topics can be found in the chapter on ?white collar crime.

Firms which deal with compliance as part of their work in other practice areas, such as ?antitrust, ?IT (data protection), ?public procurement (esp. procurement bans), ?tax, ?corporate (managerial liability, due diligence), ?employment, ?banking and finance and ?insurance (regulatory) can be found in the corresponding chapters.

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