Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
|Headquarters||65 Fleet Street
London, United Kingdom
|No. of offices||27|
|No. of lawyers||
Partners: 427Associates: 1,611
|No. of employees||Approx. 4,859|
|Major practice areas||Banking & finance
Projects & Energy
|Key people||Will Lawes
|Revenue||£1.24 billion (2014/15)|
|Profit per equity partner||£1.37 million (2014/15)|
|Company type||Limited liability partnership|
Freshfields is by some measure the oldest firm within the Magic Circle and is reputed to be the oldest international law firm in the world. It can trace its origins back to the early 18th century when it was appointed solicitor to the Bank of England. It continues to advise the Bank of England today.
Freshfields is reported to have the highest reported profit margin amongst the five Magic Circle firms.  In 2014-15 the firm achieved total revenues of £1.24 billion and average profit per equity partner (PEP) of £1.37 million.
Freshfields continues to be the top ranked law firm for European and UK M&A. As of 2015, it is the only magic circle firm to feature in the top five law firms in the world by deal value and is the highest ranked law firm by value in European M&A.  Freshfields UK corporate practice continues to outperform its magic circle rivals. In Thomson Reuters' UK M&A charts for 2014, Freshfields closed 91 transactions worth over $118 billion, over 50% more than the second ranked magic circle firm.
Bruckhaus Westrick Heller Löber traced its history back to Hamburg in 1840; at the time of its merger with Freshfields it was one of the two largest law firms in Germany. Deringer Tessin Herrmann & Sedemund was founded in 1962 by Arved Deringer and Claus Tessin and had been based in Cologne since 1970.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was created in 2000 when U.K.-based Freshfields merged with two law firms: Germany-based Deringer, Tessin, Herrmann, & Sedemund and Germany-Austria-based Bruckhaus, Westrick, Heller, Löber.
The firm changed its name as different partners joined or left the firm until James William Freshfield (1775–1864) was elected partner. James Freshfield, his sons and grandsons worked at the firm until the last Freshfield retired in 1918.
In 2007, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer restructured its business, changing its partners' pension scheme and reducing the number of equity partnerships. In 2008 the firm converted to a limited liability partnership (LLP).
Freshfields have advised on many landmark transactions. In the midst of the 2008 financial crisis, it advised the Bank of England on the creation of the £200 billion Special Liquidity Scheme designed to restore liquidity to the UK financial markets. It also advised the Bank of England on all financial crisis and UK Government bailout matters. Freshfields also advised the troubled bank Northern Rock throughout its nationalisation by the UK Government. Freshfields also counselled the German Government throughout the 2008 and 2009 financial crisis.
Freshfields has advised the UK Government on a raft of privatisation mandates. Freshfields recently advised the UK Government on the restructuring and sale of the Royal Mail via IPO; the sale of the UK's stake in Eurostar; and the privatisations of Northern Rock, Lloyds Bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland.
"Global Law Firm of the Year" (Who's Who Legal Awards 2013, 2014 ); "Most Highly Regarded M&A Law Firm in the World" (Who's Who Legal 2012, 2013 and 2014); "European M&A Legal Adviser of the Year" (Mergermarket European Awards 2014); "M&A Team of the Year Asia" (Asia Legal Awards 2015); "M&A Team of the Year" (British Legal Awards 2014); "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"; "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 has been the top ranked firm in the world for expertise in Antitrust and Competition Law in the Global Competition Law "Global Elite Law Firms Index" for a number of years.
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
James William Freshfield, the first Freshfield to join the firm, adopted the crest of John Freshfield of Norwich as his own, having seen it as a boy. It was later used as the firm's mark. The emblem represents St Michael who is depicted as an angel with a spear.
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- Slinn, Judy (1984). A History of Freshfields. London: Freshfields. OCLC 59021160.
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