Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Freshfields logo.png
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
No. of offices 27
No. of lawyers

Partners: 427

Associates: 1,611[1]
No. of employees Approx. 4,859[2]
Major practice areas General practice
Key people Will Lawes
Senior Partner
David Aitman
Managing Partner
Stephan Eilers
Executive Partner
Revenue Increase £1.232 billion (2013/14)[3]
Profit per equity partner Increase £1.48 million (2013/14)[4]
Date founded 1743
(Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer)
Company type Limited liability partnership

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP (informally Freshfields) is a multinational law firm headquartered in London and a member of the Magic Circle of leading British law firms. In 2013-14 it achieved total revenues of £1.232 billion and average profit per equity partner (PEP) of £1.48 million.[5]

It has 27 offices in 17 jurisdictions across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America. It advises national and multinational corporations, financial institutions and governments.


Freshfields traces its origins back to at least 1743 in London, when Samuel Dodd, one of its partners, was appointed solicitor to the Bank of England.

Some of Freshfields prominent clients have included William Gladstone, Sir Robert Peel, Nathan Meyer Rothschild (founder of the banking house of Rothschild), the first and second Lord Carrington (of the banking house founded by Robert Smith), Lord Acton, Earl Stanhope, The Earl of Ellenborough (the Governor-General of British India), and the Bank of England. [6]

The firm changed its name with different partners until James William Freshfield (1775–1864) was elected partner. A symbol of the archangel Michael, part of the Freshfields family crest since the middle of the 18th century, also became the law firm's symbol.[7] James Freshfield, his sons and grandsons continued in the service of the firm until the last Freshfield retired in 1918. The prestige of Freshfields' work for the Bank of England led it to representing the aristocracy who then held much of Britain’s wealth.

Bruckhaus' history began in 1840 in Hamburg, while Deringer Tessin Herrmann & Sedemund was founded in 1962 by Arved Deringer and Claus Tessin and had been based in Cologne since 1970. The three-way merger in 2000 represented the ambition of all three firms of becoming an international law firm, and was described by the UK's Financial Times as "probably the most significant pan-European merger to date in the restructuring of Europe’s legal services."

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was created on 1 August 2000 when the UK-based Freshfields merged with Germany-based Deringer Tessin Herrmann & Sedemund and the German-Austrian law firm Bruckhaus Westrick Heller Löber.[8][9]

In 2007, the firm went through a restructuring of its business, which involved slimming down the size of its equity partnership. The changes were made with the aim of increasing the firm's competitiveness and profitability, and were similar to moves made previously by other competitor firms.[10] Separately, the firm also reformed the partners' pension scheme with the aim of making the scheme fairer for all partners. The changes resulted in a number of departures and three claims, two of which were dropped, while the third was dismissed by the Central London Employment Tribunal.[11][12]

On 1 May 2008, Freshfields converted to a limited liability partnership (LLP).

In February 2009, it was announced that Freshfields had been chosen as the official legal services provider to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.[13][14]


Freshfields has 27 offices in 16 countries and 17 jurisdictions across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America.[15]

Awards and rankings[edit]

Recent awards won by Freshfields include: "Global Law Firm of the Year" (Who's Who Legal Awards 2013);[16] "M&A team of the year" (IFLR European Awards 2010); "M&A team of the year" (British Legal Awards 2009 and 2008); "Germany law firm of the year" and "UK law firm of the year" (Chambers Europe Awards for Excellence 2009); "Most innovative law firm" (Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Awards 2009); "Law firm of the year" (The Lawyer Awards 2008); "International law firm of the year" (PLC Which Lawyer? Awards 2008).

Corporate social responsibility[edit]

Freshfields was named Legal Business CSR Firm of the Year 2007[17] for being the first international law firm to produce an externally audited corporate social responsibility report under the Global Reporting Initiative's sustainability reporting framework. In 2009, the firm yet again won the CSR Programme of the Year award by Legal Business.[18]

Freshfields runs a number of programmes designed to attract applicants from non-traditional backgrounds, including TARGETchances City law,[19] Pure Potential[20] and the Sutton Trust's Pathways to Law[21] initiative.

The Freshfields Angel[edit]

Freshfields symbol, a spear-wielding angel, came to be associated with the firm when James William Freshfield, the first of the Freshfield family to be a partner in the firm, adopted the mark as his own personal coat of arms.

He adopted the crest from John Freshfield of Norwich, having seen a drawing of them when he was a boy.

The arms included a representation of Saint Michael. Saint Michael has a fairly high profile in classical art, where he is often depicted defeating the devil in combat. [22]

The design of the distinctive Freshfields angel has been adapted and changed over a number of years to reflect changing times.Freshfieldsl[23]


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  5. ^
  6. ^ Slinn, Judy (1984). A History of Freshfields. London: Freshfields. OCLC 59021160. 
  7. ^ Slinn, Judy (1993), Freshfields, 1743-1993, London: Freshfields
  8. ^ 29 March 2004 (2004-03-29). "". Retrieved 2011-08-08. 
  9. ^ "Chambers and Partners Firm Profile". Retrieved 2011-08-08. 
  10. ^ "Freshfields reaches end of sweeping equity overhaul". 2007-03-08. 
  11. ^ "Freshfields wins Bloxham age discrimination battle". 2007-10-10. 
  12. ^ "Shearman's Moore withdraws Freshfields claim". 2007-11-08. 
  13. ^ "". Retrieved 2011-08-08. 
  14. ^ "". Retrieved 2011-08-08. 
  15. ^ "Locations". Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. Retrieved 24 October 2010. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ "CSR Firm of the Year" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-08-08. 
  18. ^ "Freshfields CSR report - Pastures new". 2006-02-17. [dead link]
  19. ^ "TARGETchances City law". Retrieved 2011-08-08. 
  20. ^ "Pure Potential". Pure Potential. Retrieved 2011-08-08. 
  21. ^ "Pathways to Law". Pathways to Law. Retrieved 2011-08-08. 
  22. ^
  23. ^

External links[edit]