2021 Vault Rankings
At a Glance
“The quality of work and the support from the teams at all levels.”
“My colleagues are incredible.”
“Work allocation system.”
About Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
For more than 250 years, Freshfields has remained a constant at the top of the U.K. legal market. With 27 international offices, the firm has expanded its reach around the globe and has become a player in the United States with offices in New York, Silicon Valley, and Washington, DC. In fact, the firm has increased lateral hiring in the U.S. recently—its U.S.-qualified team is 380 strong and is rapidly growing.
Established Name, Modern Growth
Founded in 1743, Freshfields just might be the oldest international law firm in the world. Its first client was the Bank of England, which remains a firm client to this day. In 1801, the first Freshfield, James William Freshfield, joined the firm as a partner. Successive generations of lawyers in the Freshfields family would go on to work at the firm through the 1910s.
Freshfields opened its first US office in New York in 1977, and opened its Washington, D.C. office in 1998. In 2000, Freshfields merged with top German firms Bruckhaus Westrick Heller Löber and Deringer Tessin Herrmann & Sedemund, expanding the depth and breadth of its reach across Europe. Freshfields was also among the first western firms in Asia and now has a sizable presence there. Today, the firm boasts 2,800 lawyers in 27 offices around the world.
Given its international scope, it is no surprise that Freshfields has a knack for tackling cross-border work. The firm also takes a multi-disciplinary approach to its work, approaching matters with an eye toward regulatory and risk management and collaborating across practices, helping clients with their most complex matters.
In the U.S. specifically, the firm works across more than a dozen industries, including automotive, chemicals, consumer goods, energy and natural resources, financial institutions, financial sponsors, government and public sector, infrastructure and transport, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and health care, professional and business services, real estate, and technology.
The New York office specializes in corporate, finance, tax, restructuring, capital markets, and litigation matters, offering services related to M&A (both domestically and of the cross-border variety), infrastructure and project finance, general banking transactions, white collar defense, international arbitration, civil litigation and securities litigation, and corporate tax.
The Washington, DC, office houses a powerful U.S. antitrust practice that outstrips those of other firms with European roots and a leading CFIUS practice. Among its notable work is advising Anheuser-Busch InBev on its $108 billion acquisition of SABMiller, combining the largest and the second largest breweries in the world.
Focus on Others
Pro bono is ingrained in Freshfields’ culture, and the firm does not distinguish between pro bono hours and client hours. According to the firm, “At Freshfields, we endeavor to make a positive impact through pro bono work promoting access to justice and access to opportunity.” The firm’s recent pro bono work has included representing individual victims of human trafficking, as well as southern border crisis work and COVID-19 small business advice. In 2019, Freshfields U.S. gave nearly 17,000 hours of pro bono advice.
For the 2020 summer, Freshfields hosted an eight-week virtual summer program due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Freshfields Counsel Andrea Basham and Partner Paul Tiger sat down with Vault for a video interview to discuss what the firm’s 2020 virtual summer associate program would look like—including which factors informed the firm's planning and how the firm planned to handle networking and social events. Click here to watch Vault's video interview with Freshfields.
News & Awards
Freshfields is providing a wide range of pro bono advice related to COVID-19, including to a venture developing a new ventilator to aid those most seriously affected by COVID-19; to the East Village Independent Merchants Association in connection with obtaining relief available under the PPP; and as part of the Lawyers for Good coalition, to small-business owners dealing with legal issues arising out of COVID-19. The U.S. offices additionally sourced materials to build 400 face shields for hospitals in need.
Freshfields announced the opening of a West Coast office in Menlo Park, CA, in July 2020. In connection with the opening, the firm added well-known corporate partners Sarah Solum, John Fisher and Maj Vaseghi and litigators Boris Feldman and Doru Gavril from rival firms—with U.S. capital markets partner Pamela Marcogliese and antitrust partner Alan Ryan joining the office from the New York and Brussels offices, respectively. Solum has assumed the role of managing partner of the Silicon Valley office. According to Ethan Klingsberg, partner and Head of U.S. Corporate and M&A at Freshfields, “Combining this dream team of talent with our global platform and our high-powered teams in New York and DC enables us to respond to the needs of Bay Area clients. These needs are global, complex and demanding of constant focus and creativity.”
Freshfields launched A Fresh Take blog, which provides sophisticated and timely insights on corporate/M&A; governance; and related regulatory, enforcement, leveraged finance, litigation, IP, data privacy, employee benefits, and restructuring matters in the U.S. In the two months leading up to the launch, Freshfields’ US lawyers contributed 50 individual pieces of thought leadership to the blog, many of which were republished to Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance, Law360, Deallawyers.com, The Columbia Law School Blog on Corporations & Capital Markets, The Deal, New York Law Journal and The Recorder.
Freshfields bolstered its commitment throughout 2019 and 2020 in the U.S., hiring seven partners and counsel from Cleary Gottlieb’s M&A, Governance and Securities, and Shareholder Litigation practices; a partner from Latham’s Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits practice; and the most senior U.S. government career official at CFIUS to enter private practice; as well as a senior litigator from the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, a senior securities litigator from Willkie Farr, the deputy coordinator of Sullivan & Cromwell’s International Arbitration practice and a former senior enforcement attorney at the U.S. Department of Transportation. Joining them is an exceptional team of nearly 25 lateral associates hired in the last six months from major U.S. firms and former government positions.
- The firm advised Aon in its $80bn merger with Willis Towers Watson.
- Freshfields represented Evonik in its successful defense against the FTC challenging its acquisition of PeroxyChem, ending the FTC’s seven-win streak in litigated merger challenges and marking only the second time it had been defeated at trial since 2011.
- The firm represented ConocoPhillips in ICSID arbitration arising out of one of the largest expropriations in history. The Tribunal issued the largest ICSID damages award ever: $8.7bn.
- Freshfields advised Volkswagen in resolving its criminal and regulatory investigations in the U.S. arising from diesel emissions and related investigations in dozens of other countries. The firm also advised on Volkswagen’s $2.6bn co-investment in Argo AI.
- Four practice rankings (antitrust, M&A, white-collar, and international arbitration) and 19 individual lawyer rankings, 2020—Chambers USA
- Seven “Band 1” practice rankings: M&A, Antitrust, Dispute Resolution, International Arbitration, Tax, Benefits, and Public International Law, 2020—Chambers Global
- Among the top ten firms perennially for investigations—Global Investigations Review
- No. 1 for global arbitration nine of the last 13 years—Global Arbitration Review
- No. 1 for global M&A by deal value, Q1 2020—Refinitiv
601 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 277-4000
Senior Partner: Georgia Dawson
Regional Managing Partner, U.S.: Matthew Herman
Hiring Attorney: Jerome Ranawake (New York)
Total No. Attorneys 2020:
2.5K - 3K
No. of Partners Named 2020:
1st year: $190,000
2nd year: $200,000
3rd year: $220,000
4th year: $255,000
5th year: $280,000
6th year: $305,000
7th year: $325,000
8th year: $340,000
Summer Associate: $3,650/week
Senior Manager, Talent Acquisition, US
No. of U.S. Offices: 3
No. of International Offices: 24
New York, NY
Silicon Valley, CA
Washington, DC I Abu Dhabi
Ho Chi Minh City
Antitrust, Competition, & Trade
Bankruptcy & Insolvency
International Arbitration, Litigation, White Collar
Employee Pensions & Benefits
Intellectual Property/Information Technology
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.