Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
|Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP|
|Headquarters||London, United Kingdom|
|No. of offices||27|
|No. of lawyers||
Partners: 427Associates: 1,611
|No. of employees||Approx. 4,859|
|Major practice areas||General practice|
|Key people||Will Lawes
|Revenue||£1.232 billion (2013/14)|
|Profit per equity partner||£1.48 million (2013/14)|
(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.
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. 
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. 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.
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. 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.
On 1 May 2008, Freshfields converted to a limited liability partnership (LLP).
Awards and rankings
Recent awards won by Freshfields include: "Global Law Firm of the Year" (Who's Who Legal Awards 2013); "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).
Freshfields was named Legal Business CSR Firm of the Year 2007 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.
Freshfields runs a number of programmes designed to attract applicants from non-traditional backgrounds, including TARGETchances City law, Pure Potential and the Sutton Trust's Pathways to Law initiative.
The Freshfields Angel
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 design of the distinctive Freshfields angel has been adapted and changed over a number of years to reflect changing times.
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