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Compliance & Forensic Services

CMS Compliance & Forensic Services – qualified and experienced in prevention and crisis management

Compliance is an indispensable part of good corporate governance. A compliance structure that is adapted to a company’s specific requirements not only helps to avoid legal violations, it can also minimise liability risk in a crisis.

The CMS Compliance & Forensic Services team comprises more than 60 compliance experts from every area of commercial law. Our broad-based practice and high degree of specialisation enable us to cover all facets of compliance and identify risks rapidly and efficiently. We can provide the necessary legal support for both prevention and investigation.

Our services range from advising on the establishment and optimisation of compliance programmes through internal investigations for detecting violations of the law to assisting with preliminary proceedings and asserting claims for damages.

Prevention is better than cure: our proactive compliance advice

When establishing and implementing a compliance system designed to meet the exact needs of the individual company, we apply a Prevent – Identify – Respond philosophy.

Our Compliance team offers assistance with:

  • Developing, implementing and optimising compliance programmes
  • Risk management (compliance due diligence, business partner screening, compliance clauses in agreements)
  • Setting up and managing reporting systems (whistleblower hotline, ombudsman)
  • Establishing compliance guidelines and conducting training (e.g. on anti-corruption, competition law, prevention of money laundering, IT security and data protection, capital markets law, product safety, procurement law and export control)

Managing the crisis: our Forensic Services in compliance situations

A crisis can affect a company in many ways – and it usually catches management unawares. A crisis situation limits the company's capacity to act and, in a worst-case scenario, may jeopardise the company's very existence. If the company also comes under pressure from business partners, politicians and the media, quick, efficient and legally robust crisis management is required.

The Forensic Services experts at CMS adopt an integrated approach when dealing with crises. As the largest German commercial law firm, we can provide you with the required number of highly qualified lawyers and tax advisors within a very short period of time to handle major internal investigations. For companies in a compliance crisis, we also bring together specialists from various other disciplines: defence lawyers, e-discovery providers, crisis PR consultants, auditors and private investigators. Their role is typically to help detect and resolve violations as part of an internal investigation.

The crucial advantage for you is that CMS Forensic Services act as a single point of contact with an overview of all the relevant compliance issues, guiding you efficiently through the crisis.

Our Forensic Services comprise:

  • Informing management and the relevant supervisory bodies of their duties in a compliance crisis situation and developing a crisis management plan
  • Planning, managing and conducting internal investigations
  • Establishing the facts of the matter, searching documents and e-mail messages with the aid of forensic tools, interviewing employees
  • Return of assets and tracking of payment flows
  • Developing resolution strategies and identifying immediate steps to be taken
  • Managing defence lawyers, auditors, e-discovery providers, private investigators and crisis PR consultants
  • Advising on cooperation with the investigating authorities
  • Coordination and negotiation of the investigation with the works council
  • Development of amnesty programmes and crown witness arrangementsLegal support before and during an official investigation (dawn raid)
  • Contingency plans for correct conduct during dawn raids
  • Dawn raid training
  • On-site support during the investigation. Our international CMS Dawn Raid Network enables us to provide suitable lawyers worldwide with minimum delay, either from one of our 71 CMS offices or from the offices of our partner firms
  • Representation in subsequent official or court proceedings
Deployment of external staff

What others say about us:

„Die Compliance-Praxis […] deckt die Compliance-Beratung in nahezu allen Facetten ab.“

JUVE Handbuch, 2023/2024

„Kompetent, kunden- und lösungsorientiert.“

The Legal 500, 2023

"CMS's forensic capabilities include, in addition to examining labour and social security breaches, also internal investigations relating to trade secrets, as well as money laundering and fraud allegations, with clients benefiting from the broad expertise of interdisciplinary teams as well as various Legal Tech tools [...]."

The Legal 500 EMEA, 2022

"The CMS practice is one of the practices that cover the compliance spectrum in its entirety. This again includes extensive internal examinations as well as ongoing advice on prevention. Here, [the team] can in particular contribute its technical know-how, as its own Legal Tech tools [...] are available to the team."

JUVE German Commercial Law Firms 2023 (GCLF)

"CMS comprises a solid practice that regularly advises clients from the public, energy, finance and real estate sectors on compliance issues, with a particular strength in large internal investigations and compliance management programmes. The team additionally assists with money laundering issues, product liability, employment compliance and whistle-blower incidents, and represents clients in damages claims and D&O liability proceedings. Its strong international network enables the law firm to handle complex cross-border cases."

Chambers Europe, 2022

"CMS provides advice on corporate compliance matters often in particular to companies from regulated sectors, [and clients] also appreciate 'the agile responsiveness to time-critical legal issues'."

The Legal 500 EMEA, 2021

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