Compliance Lawyers

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

What others say about us

"CMS performs ‘outstanding work’ and its practice groups work closely together to deliver a comprehensive approach to advice at the preventative and investigative level."
(The Legal 500 Germany, 2015)

"Wide-ranging advice on organisational structure, also establishment and operation of (international) hotlines and investigations. Broad-based capability, including international trade."
(JUVE Handbook of Commercial Law Firms, 2014/2015)

Deployment of external staff
Read more Read less
International desk


Language spoken


Dr. Björn Herbers
Dr. Björn Herbers, M.B.L.
Belgium, Brussels
Björn Herbers advises clients on all aspects of European and German competition law.Bjoern Herbers joined the firm in 2009.
Peter Endres
Germany, Munich
With deep insight and expertise, Peter Endres advises his clients on all legal aspects of procurement, production and distribution and also represents them in court in this field. His distribution...
Ralf Dierck
Dr. Ralf Dierck
Germany, Munich
For more than 30 years, Ralf Dierck has been a trusted partner for major, globally operating companies, representing their interests on different panels and platforms. He advises and represents them...
Harald Kahlenberg
Dr. Harald Kahlenberg
Germany, Stuttgart
Harald Kahlenberg has long-standing experience advising his clients on EU and German merger control and competition law cases and in numerous merger control proceedings, he obtained approval from...
Harald W Potinecke
Dr. Harald W Potinecke
Rechtsanwalt | Head Compliance & Forensic Services, CMS Germany
Germany, Munich
Harald W. Potinecke advises companies on product liability and compliance, in particular in the context of introducing and implementing compliance management systems, which also includes implementing...
Kai Neuhaus, LL.M.
Belgium, Brussels
Kai Neuhaus specialises in competition and trade law, with a focus on the digital business. He advises and represents companies in all proceedings before the EU Commission, the German Federal Cartel Office...
Florian Block
Florian Block
Germany, Munich
Florian Block advises industrial and trading companies on the development and implementation of compliance management programmes as well as on the investigation of compliance violations. He is particularly...
Tobias Bomsdorf
Dr. Tobias Bomsdorf
Germany, Frankfurt
Tobias Bomsdorf advises and represents his clients in civil and commercial law disputes before state courts as well as in arbitration proceedings. His clients include companies in the engineering...
Marion Bernhardt
Prof. Dr. Marion Bernhardt
Germany, Berlin
Marion Bernhardt is an expert for industrial relations and has extensive experience advising and representing medium-sized and large companies in the context of all works constitution matters: She...
Markus Schöner
Dr. Markus Schöner, M.Jur. (Oxford)
Rechtsanwalt | Head of Competition & EU Group, CMS Germany
Germany, Hamburg
Markus Schöner is a specialist for EU and German antitrust law, including merger control. His competition law expertise is in particular demand in the context of setting up selective distribution...