Haarmann divides legal and audit

Haarmann Hemmelrath is to split its legal and tax division from audit to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and German legislation. The policy will be implemented at the end of the firm’s financial year.

The move follows a year and a half of turmoil for accountancy-tied firms in Germany.

Haarmann has also lost seven more partners, including the highly rated Markus Wenserski, a corporate heavyweight who has defected to Willkie Farr & Gallagher. Wenserski will give the US firm the M&A power it has so far lacked in Frankfurt.

The defections follow a decision by Haarmann earlier this year to move away from an ‘eat what you kill’ remuneration system. Although a large majority of the partners voted for the change, it has led to the defection of some of the firm’s biggest billers.