Noerr celebrates a second year of strong growth as turnover climbs 9.3% to €297m

Top European independent has also had ‘more than strong’ start to 2022 despite market uncertainty
Formal photograph of Alexander Ritvay (left) and Torsten Fett in an office

Alexander Ritvay (left) and Torsten Fett

Leading German independent Noerr has posted another year of strong growth with firm-wide revenue for 2021 climbing by 9.3% to €297m in what co-managing partner Alexander Ritvay described as “a fantastic year”.

The performance represents an improvement on 2020 when revenue climbed by 7.6%, growth having stalled in 2019, with income edging up by just 1%.

The Munich-based firm highlighted double digit-growth in corporate and M&A work as a key growth area, driven largely by cross-border transactions, with 85% of deals it has advised on over the past 10 years having had an international element.

“We are continuing our growth story and have achieved above-average growth for the second year in a row,” said co-managing partner Torsten Fett. “The most important forces driving this were group transformation, digitalisation and ESG.”

The performance is broadly in line with Spanish independent firms Garrigues and Cuatrecasas, whose revenue climbed by 7.1% and 11% respectively in 2021 (see table below). However, German rival Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek saw its revenue dip by 2.4%, putting it down to a profession-wide winding down in diesel emission collective claims.

Growth was strongest across Noerr’s domestic network of offices with turnover climbing by 9.6% to €277.3m. Its Central and Eastern Europe offices, which accounted for 7% of turnover, recorded a 5.9% revenue increase to €19.7 million. That represented a return to growth after income dipped in 2020.

Following the spinning out of its Moscow arm in January, the network comprises offices Warsaw, Bucharest, Bratislava, Prague and Budapest.

Ritvay said he was “quite confident” that the situation in Central and Eastern Europe would be stable, despite impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He suggested a drive to invest in defence, security and infrastructure would generate economic activity, and described the firm’s overall performance in the first quarter of 2022 as “more than solid”.

Ritvay added that as well as driving client work, the ESG movement and digitalisation was also prompting the firm to reform its own business.

With regard to diversity and inclusion, he cited as a signal the firm was “moving in the right direction” the appointment of four women out of nine new practice heads in 2021 and the promotion of three women among seven new equity partners.

Internal initiatives include a new flexible working policy under which staff can spend between six-to-eight days working from home. But Ritvay said co-ordinated office working was also essential.

“Is the office a factory to produce documents? No it isn’t. It is a place for encounters, communication, creativity, training and conveying values,” he said.

Total fee earning staff at the firm edged up only slightly last year, up by 2.6% to 588 lawyers, tax advisors, auditors and paralegals.

European Law Firm 2021 Financial Results

DateFirmCountryRev(€) m% +/-
8 AprilNoerrGermany2979.3
5 AprilCuatrecasasSpain35011
17 MarchHeuking Kühn Lüer WojtekGermany185.4(2.4)
15 MarchGarriguesSpain414.27.1

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