Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
|No. of offices||27|
|No. of lawyers|
|No. of employees||4,959|
|Major practice areas|
|Revenue||£1.4 billion (2016/17)|
|Profit per equity partner||£1.73 million (2016/17)|
|Founder||Samuel Dodd and James William Freshfield|
|Company type||Limited liability partnership|
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP (informally Freshfields) is one of the largest and most prestigious multinational law firms in the world, headquartered in London since 1743. Its origins lie in the early 18th century, when it was appointed solicitor to the Bank of England, which it continues to advise today.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was created in 2000 when U.K.-based Freshfields merged with the two law firms, Germany-based Deringer, Tessin, Herrmann, & Sedemund and Germany-and-Austria-based Bruckhaus, Westrick, Heller, Löber.
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Since 2017, German prosecutors have twice raided Freshfields’ Frankfurt offices as they investigate the phantom trading fraud that Germany estimates cost it more than 5 billion euros, also known as cum ex fraud. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer gave tax advice which was used to justify its legality and in November 2019, Ulf Johannemann, a former Freshfield lawyer was imprisoned.
In 2019, the firm became the first among the Magic Circle to raise the salaries of newly qualified junior lawyers to £100,000, which prompted moves by other magic circle firms to make similar increases.
Freshfields' origins arguably go back to c.1716, when Thomas Woodford began to practise law. Woodford was succeeded in his practice in 1730 by William Wall, who was succeeded in turn in 1743 by Samuel Dodd. In that same year, Dodd was appointed attorney to the Bank of England. Freshfields (in the firm's various incarnations) have been the bank's legal advisers ever since. Dodd's appointment is treated by Freshfields as the firm's foundation date.
The firm changed its name on numerous occasions as different partners joined or left. In 1801 James William Freshfield (1775–1864) was the first member of the Freshfield family to become a partner, and the firm became known as Winter, Kaye, Beckwith & Freshfield. Following further name changes, it became Freshfield & Son in 1825, and eventually Freshfields 1868–76, Freshfields & Williams 1876–98, Freshfields 1899–1918, Freshfields & Leese 1918–1921, Freshfields, Leese & Munns 1921–1945, and Freshfields 1946–2000. The last member of the Freshfield family to be a partner, another James William Freshfield, retired in 1927.
The first James William Freshfield (1775–1864) adopted the crest of John Freshfield of Norwich as his own, having seen it as a boy. It was subsequently used as the firm's emblem. It represents St Michael, depicted as an angel with a spear.
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- Slinn 2007.
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- Slinn, Judy (2007) . "Freshfield family". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/49721. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)