Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer logo.svg
HeadquartersFleet Street
London, EC4
United Kingdom
No. of offices27
No. of lawyers
  • Partners: 427
  • Associates: 1,611[1]
No. of employees4,959
Major practice areas
  • Banking & finance
  • Capital markets
  • Competition/antitrust
  • Corporate/M&A
  • International arbitration
  • Litigation
  • Private equity
  • Projects[vague] & energy
  • Real Estate
  • Tax
Key people
  • Stephan Eilers
    (Managing Partner)
  • Edward Braham
    (Senior Partner)
RevenueIncrease £1.4 billion (2016/17)[2]
Profit per equity partnerIncrease £1.73 million (2016/17)[2]
Date founded1743
FounderSamuel Dodd and James William Freshfield
Company typeLimited 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.[3] 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 is a member of the Magic Circle of elite British law firms, the oldest firm within the Magic Circle, and the oldest international law firm in the world.[4]

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.[5][6]


The firm 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.

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.[7] 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.[7]

In 2019, the firm became the first among the Magic Circle to raise the salaries of newly qualified junior lawyers to £100,000,[8] 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.[9] In that same year, Dodd was appointed attorney to the Bank of England.[10] 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.[3]

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.[10][9] The last member of the Freshfield family to be a partner, another James William Freshfield, retired in 1927.[11][12]

Bruckhaus Westrick Heller Löber traces its origins to Hamburg in 1840. At the time of its 2000 merger with Freshfields it was one of the two largest law firms in Germany.[4][13]

Deringer Tessin Herrmann & Sedemund was founded in 1962 by Arved Deringer and Claus Tessin and was based in Cologne from 1970 -2000.


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.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP - True Picture". Chambers Student.
  2. ^ a b Moloney, Rachel (5 July 2018). "Freshfields returns to form as PEP reaches record levels". The Lawyer. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Our History: Old hands at hands at new ideas". Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Freshfields Brockhaus Deringer". Legal Week. 14 December 2009.
  5. ^ "Freshfields: Kings of Europe". The Lawyer. 29 March 2004.
  6. ^ "Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP: Firm Profile". Chambers and partners. Retrieved 8 August 2008.
  7. ^ a b "Former Freshfields lawyer arrested over German tax scam: sources". Reuters. 2019-11-28. Retrieved 2020-01-25.
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b Slinn 1984, p. 177.
  10. ^ a b Slinn, Judy (1993). Freshfields, 1743–1993, London: Freshfields
  11. ^ Slinn 2007.
  12. ^ Slinn 1984, pp. 177–178.
  13. ^ "Sights set on the big three". The Lawyer. 28 February 2000. Archived from the original on 16 February 2018.

Further reading[edit]

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