- www.: freshfields.com
- Senior Partner: William Lawes
- Managing Partner: Ted Burke
- Executive Partner: Stephan Eilers
- Number of partners: 440
- Number of lawyers: over 2,500
- Languages: Members of the firm speak over 60 languages
Freshfields is a commercially savvy, innovative law firm that helps clients navigate their most complex business issues. It has over 2,500 lawyers in 28 offices around the world and works with a network of trusted local law firms. It was the official legal services provider to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, helping to deliver one of the world’s largest and multi-faceted events.
In 2012 the firm expanded its Asia focus with a new office in Singapore.
Main Areas of Practice:
Antitrust, Competition & Trade:
Since 2010 Freshfields’ competition practice has advised on over half the in-depth merger investigations by the European Commission. It has over 230 competition lawyers in 12 countries, including 52 partners. It advises financial institutions, governments and clients across all sectors on all competition issues, including:
• Merger control
• Abuse of dominance
• Cartel investigations and damages claims
• State aid
• Public procurement
Freshfields has worked on more cross-border M&A in the last five years than any other law firm. In 2011 alone it worked on over 280 deals, with a value of $205 billion – more than any other magic circle firm.
In the same year it advised on seven of the 20 largest IPOs across London and Hong Kong, and a tenth of all IPOs on those exchanges. Its global financial investor practice advised on three of the seven buyouts worth over €1 billion in 2012 – the only law firm to have done more than one.
The firm’s corporate practice has over 700 lawyers worldwide, including 156 partners.
Freshfields is handling more high-value arbitration cases than any other firm,worth over $80 billion. It represented ConocoPhillips when Venezuela seized oil assets worth over $30 billion, in one of the largest treaty arbitration cases every filed. The firm’s disputes practice has over 400 litigation lawyers in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the United States. This includes over 90 partners and 300 associates.
Employment, Pensions & Benefits:
The practice has 20 partners and 95 associates in 12 countries. Landmark cases for Freshfields’ EPB practice include:
• Advising UPS on its proposed acquisition of TNT Express, which would create the global leader in the logistics industry, with over €45 billion in annual revenues
• Advising on Royal Mail’s restructuring. The deal transfers £37.5 billion of legacy pensions liabilities to the UK state and restructures Royal Mail’s balance sheet
Key Clients: AstraZeneca, Bloomberg, Bristol Myers Squibb, Continental, General Dynamics, Hugo Boss, Lafarge, Morgan Stanley, Merck, Smith & Nephew and UPS.
Freshfields’ finance practice advised on:
• The largest leveraged buyout in Europe in 2011 – Com Hem
• The £4.5 billion Intercity express project, the UK’s largest-ever private public partnership
• Center Parcs’ first-of-a-kind £1.2 billion refinancing and development financing
• PLC restructurings, such as the Mouchel Group
It has over 300 lawyers worldwide, including 72 partners, covering restructuring and insolvency, banking, structured asset finance and energy and infrastructure.
Key Clients: Rothschild, Blackstone, CVC, Lloyds TSB and Deloitte
Intellectual Property & Information Technology:
Freshfields’ IP/IT practice advised the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and the International Olympic Committee on IP and brand protection for the London 2012 Games. It also advised on Geely’s $1.8 billion acquisition of Volvo, the largest acquisition of an overseas carmaker by a Chinese company. The practice focuses on:
• Strategic brands advice and litigation
• Patent litigation n Regulatory advice in the telecoms, media and technology sector
• Complex IP and technology-driven deals
It has over 100 lawyers in Europe, Asia and the United States, including 21 partners.
Freshfields’ real estate group has advised on iconic buildings projects, such as Europe’s tallest building, ‘the Shard’, and the 160m ‘Walkie-Talkie’ in London. It also acted for the extensive developments undertaken by LOCOG for the London 2012 Olympic Games. It has over 250 lawyers worldwide advising on all aspects of commercial real estate.
Key Clients: Almacantar, Blackstone, Brookfield, Cerberus, Canada Pension Plan, Grosvenor, Perella Weinberg and the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation
Freshfields’ tax and disputes teams have a market-leading reputation for resolving investigations and disputes. Freshfields is also one of the few law firms to offer a full transfer pricing service. The practice advised on the $13.7 billion sale of the pharmaceutical company Nycomed to Japan’s largest drugmaker Takeda. It also advised Berggruen on buying and reorganising Karstadt; a deal valued at over €3 billion, with negotiations with tax authorities in 90 municipalities. The firm has over 140 tax lawyers worldwide, including 46 partners and counsel.
Key Clients: Porsche, EMI, E.ON, Rolls-Royce and the London Stock Exchange.