Revenue at Germany's Noerr jumps to €271.6m despite impact of pandemic

Firm-wide revenue at leading independent climbed by 7.6% in 2020 although CEE income dipped

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Munich-headquartered law firm Noerr saw its group-wide revenue rise by 7.6% to €271.6m in 2020 despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with much of that growth driven by activity in its domestic market.

The performance is even more impressive in the light of a stall in the firm’s revenue growth in 2019 when it edged up by just 1%. German revenue climbed by 9.3% to €253m between January and December 2020, against which there was a slight drop-off in Central and Eastern Europe, with offices in the region generating roughly €19m, down from €21m in 2019.

Torsten Fett, the firm’s co-managing partner, said: “We are pleased that we were able to continue our qualitative growth strategy last year despite the coronavirus crisis and consider ourselves on a good path for 2021 as well.”

Much of the firm’s revenue growth is likely to have gone to the bottom line, given both the cost savings associated with lockdown and the fact that its lawyer, tax advisor, audit and paralegal headcount remained unchanged at 573 in 2020, though its overall workforce shrank marginally to 1,166 from 1,187 employees a year earlier. 

There were some new arrivals, however, including a quartet of corporate and M&A lawyers in Dusseldorf – Harald Selzner, Martin Neuhaus, Natalie Daghles and Rainer Wilke – who joined in October from Latham & Watkins.

Alexander Ritvay, co-managing partner alongside Fett, said: “Thanks to the outstanding commitment and contributions of our staff, we managed to overcome past year’s special challenges with great success.”

He added: “We will continue to expand our advisory capacities for our clients on complex and cross-border transactions and further increase our market share in the long term. Our new partners have an impressive track record especially in these areas and are an excellent fit with our strategy.”

Last year Noerr acted as lead counsel on the insolvency proceedings of collapsed payments business Wirecard and the sale of its various subsidiaries – the first insolvency involving a company listed on Germany’s DAX stock exchange. It also advised companies such as Volkswagen Financial Services, French fashion group Kering and the Japanese electronics group Panasonic on various corporate issues.

Fett said Noerr saw particularly strong growth in its litigation, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution department. “We advised numerous companies on compliance cases and internal investigations, including several DAX-listed groups,” he added.

The firm is also representing reinsurers and companies in relation to settlement of claims arising from business interruption caused by the pandemic.

Last year, Noerr was placed fifth in Juve magazine’s ranking of Germany firms by size, one spot behind international rival Hogan Lovells, which recorded a firm-wide increase in revenue of 2.8% to $2.31bn in 2020 against a 30.8% in profit-per-equity partner (PEP). According to Juve, the international firm's Germany revenue grew by more than 5% last year to €268m.

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