In 2021, commercial lawyers in Germany benefited significantly from the industry's recovery after the pandemic-related slump.

In the first year of Corona, the lawyers were mainly in demand as crisis advisors and restructuring consultants, but in the following year they were again able to advise their clients with their entire professional breadth on transactions and projects or conduct court cases.

As a result, the market for the 100 commercial law firms in Germany with the highest turnover grew to 8.3 billion euros.

Marcus Young

Editor in Business.

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The approximately 14,100 lawyers that the Cologne-based specialist publisher Juve summarizes in its annual research for this market segment were able to increase their total turnover by 6.5 percent compared to the 2020 financial year.

Despite a highly competitive applicant market and fewer law graduates, the units were able to increase their staff by 3.4 percent.

Hardly any change

There is significantly less movement at the top of the market.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer can again easily defend the top spot with 467 million euros.

In second place, CMS Hasche Sigle, the largest commercial law firm in Germany in terms of employees, cleared the EUR 400 million hurdle for the first time.

After Hengeler Mueller (305 million euros), however, the gaps between the competitors are becoming significantly smaller.

With Clifford Chance (202 million euros) and White & Case (199 million euros), two international law firms have managed to return to the elite circle.

Among the ten units with the highest turnover, White & Case is the only original US law firm – so far.

Because in the other categories such as sales growth and sales per professional, the offices of US law firms were particularly convincing in 2021.

Thanks to their business model - a narrow professional structure and integration into global networks - many of these commercial law firms were able to report double-digit growth in turnover.

With regard to productivity, the actual turnover of a single lawyer, American law firms stand out from the rest of the market anyway: The professionals of now 12 US law firms achieved an annual turnover of one million euros - at the German class leader Hengeler Mueller, a lawyer earned an average of 946,000 euros in the year.

The sales confirmed the global trend, according to which commercial law firms have proven to be extremely robust since 2020.

It was announced just a few days ago that the law firm market in Great Britain had recently grown by as much as 11 percent.

It is the largest increase since the global financial crisis almost 15 years ago.