Osborne Clarke

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Osborne Clarke
Headquarters London, United Kingdom[1]
No. of offices 18
No. of lawyers 600+
No. of employees Approx 1,000
Major practice areas Media, Technology, Digital, Automotive, Energy and Natural Resources, Financial Services, Life Sciences, Recruitment, Real Estate and, Infrastructure
Key people Ray Berg
(Managing Partner)
Andrew Saul
(Senior Partner)[2]
Date founded 1748
Company type Limited liability partnership[3]

Osborne Clarke is a multinational law firm headquartered in London, United Kingdom with offices in the UK, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Spain, France, the Netherlands and the United States. The firm has 165 partners and 1,000 employees and is the 35th largest law firm in the UK[4] and one of the 50 largest law firms in Germany by revenues.[5]

The firm played a significant role in the development of the railways in Southern England through its historic relationship with Isambard Kingdom Brunel and the Great Western Railway.[6] Today, the firm's high profile in the media and technology sector has made them the legal firm of choice for firms including Facebook, Dell, Nintendo, News International and Vodafone.[7]

Osborne Clarke was awarded with the TMT Law firm of the Year awarded at The Lawyer Awards June 2012, for their work in advising mobile provider Everything Everywhere on launching the first mobile payments product.[8]

In 2015 Osborne Clarke were awarded law firm of the year awards by both The Lawyer and Legal Business.[9]


Osborne Clarke was founded in Bristol, UK, in 1748 by Jeremiah Osborne. In 1987 Osborne Clarke opened their first London office. Over the next decade the firm opened offices in Reading, Cologne, Munich and Silicon Valley. The law firm played a significant part in the development of the railways in the UK when it was appointed to represent the Great Western Railway Company, working closely with Isambard Kingdom Brunel on the establishment of the route from London Paddington to Bristol and the West Country.[10] The nature of the relationship between Osborne Clarke and Isambard Kingdom Brunel is best highlighted by one notable occasion when Jeremiah Osborne the Third (grandson to the founder) is said to have personally rowed Isambard Kingdom Brunel down the River Avon to survey the bank for the route of the Great Western Railway.[11]

The partnership's recent history has been characterised by two strands of development. Firstly, they have undertaken significant international expansion, particularly into the United States and Germany where they are now one of the fifty largest law firms.[5] On 9 July 2012 the firm announced that two European firms, SLA Studio Legale Associato in Italy and Spanish firm Osborne Clarke Spain, had become part of Osborne Clarke.[12]

Secondly the firm has seen considerable expansion in the media and technology sectors, in which they are considered a tier 1 firm.[7] Notable clients in this sector include Motorola, Nintendo and Facebook.[13]

Key dates[edit]

  • 1748 – Jeremiah Osborne starts practising law in Bristol.
  • 1833 - Firm works closely with Isambard Kingdom Brunel on the building of the Great Western Railway. The firm remains the company’s solicitor for many years.
  • 1968 – The modern firm is created by the merger of the Osborne and Clarke law firms.
  • 1987 – Firm opens its London office – the first regional law firm to do so.[14]
  • 1998 – Opens Thames Valley office in Reading.
  • 2000 – Opens Silicon Valley office in Palo Alto, CA.[15]
  • 2001 – Opens office in Cologne, Germany.[16]
  • 2012 - Merges with Italian and Spanish firms, gaining offices in Milan, Rome, Padova, Brescia, Madrid and Barcelona
  • 2013 – Opens in Brussels,[17] Paris[18] and New York.[19]
  • 2014 – Opens in San Francisco[20] and Amsterdam.[21]


After expanding significantly through the dot-com bubble of the late nineties and early 2000s, the firm has undergone a comprehensive restructure. The firm retains a comprehensive range of departments, however Osborne Clarke is considered a first tier firm in both the Media and Entertainment and Brand Management sectors.[13]


International Council chairman Stefan Rizor has been re-elected for a second term. Simon Beswick has been confirmed to be Osborne Clarke international chief executive and the firm's head of markets internationally.[22]

Key industry sectors[edit]

The firm has established a reputation for working in a number of sectors, but references the following list on their corporate website:

Notable cases[edit]

  • Osborne Clarke acted on behalf of Carphone Warehouse on the £2 billion demerger of its fixed line business TalkTalk.[23][24]
  • Osborne Clarke advised London & Continental Railways and Eurostar on the development of St Pancras Station, London as an international rail terminal.[25]
  • Osborne Clarke advised Babcock Marine on £1 billion defence contracts, including the £560 million extension of the Warship Support Modernisation Initiative.[26][27]
  • Osborne Clarke advised Grand Central Railway on its sale to transport operator Arriva plc.[28]

Corporate social responsibility[edit]

Osborne Clarke undertakes a number of corporate social responsibility activities including getting their workforce to undertake 25 hours a year of pro-bono activities and a commitment to environmental issues through extensive recycling and environmentally friendly travel.[29] They also involved in charitable giving [30] fundraising, volunteering and supporting young people, in particular through their award winning partnership with the Lighthouse Group.[31]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "The Lawyer: Osborne Clarke moves HQ to London". 
  2. ^ "Osborne Clarke appoints Ray Berg as its new UK Managing Partner". Osborne Clarke. Retrieved 15 February 2015. 
  3. ^ "Osborne Clarke has converted to LLP". 
  4. ^ "The top 200 Law Firms in the UK". 
  5. ^ a b "Juve Handbook of German Law Firms". 
  6. ^ "Brunel 200 - Working With Visionaries" (PDF). 
  7. ^ "The Lawyer Awards". 
  8. ^ "Osborne Clarke – an International Legal Practice: We're law firm of the year for 2015 – again!". www.osborneclarke.com. Retrieved 2015-10-07.  line feed character in |title= at position 51 (help)
  9. ^ "Bristol Floating Harbour - Osborne Clarke's relationship with Isambard Kingdom Brunel". 
  10. ^ "Clifton Rugby Football Club History". 
  11. ^ "Chamber Student - The Osborne Identity". 
  12. ^ "The Lawyer - OWA pan-Euro group opens in Silicon Valley". 
  13. ^ "OC Dumps German Merger for mass lateral hiring". The Lawyer. 
  14. ^ "Osborne Clarke Press Release - Brussels office opening". 
  15. ^ "Osborne Clarke Press Release - Paris office opening". 
  16. ^ "Osborne Clarke Official Website - New York office opening". 
  17. ^ "OC opens for business in San Francisco". Osborne Clarke website. 
  18. ^ "OC opens new office in Amsterdam". Osborne Clarke website. 
  19. ^ Osborne Clarke re-elects international chief exec and chairman, Legal Week, May 8, 2015 (retrieved on May 17, 2015).
  20. ^ "The Lawyer - Osborne Clarke leads on Carphone Warehouse demerger". 
  21. ^ "The Lawyer - Massive Regeneration Projects Dominate The Lawyer Awards". 
  22. ^ "This is Cornwall - Law firm takes advisory role on waste energy plant contract". 
  23. ^ "The Lawyer - Osborne Clarke Keeps Babcock Role On Devonport Extension". 
  24. ^ "Arriva in Grand Central Railway takeover". BBC. 
  25. ^ "Unified - Working For Osborne Clarke". 
  26. ^ "The 2010 Charity Times Awards". 
  27. ^ "The Lighthouse Group".