Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has emerged as the most active law firm in the English courts in 2016, recording 173 days in court representing clients in 26 cases according to The Lawyer Court Rankings 2016.


The magic circle firm spent 62 of these days in the Technology and Construction Court, successfully representing former BP subsidiary Equion Energia in a class action brought by Colombian farmers. The dispute centred on the environmental damage caused by the construction of the Ocensa oil pipeline in the mid-1990s.

Pinsent Masons takes second place after spending 164 days working on 44 cases; 45 of these days were spent advising infrastructure support company Amey in a dispute with Cumbria County Council, which was also heard in the Technology and Construction Court.

Third-placed Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) made 159 appearances across 51 cases. The firm’s longest case was spent in the Chancery Court successfully advising Goldman Sachs in a 30-day dispute with The Libyan Investment Authority.

Clyde & Co was the firm that advised on most individual cases – 56 – while Herbert Smith Freehills advised clients in 51 cases.

DAC Beachcroft advised on the third highest number of cases, spending its 133 days acting on 45 cases. Pinsent Masons and immigration specialist Duncan Lewis both acted on 44.

Irwin Mitchell, which advised clients in 43 cases spanning 69 days, while Leigh Day spent its 148 days in court advising on 42 cases. Eversheds advised on 40 cases across 62 days.

While many law firms will be advising on disputes that settle, or on confidential arbitrations, the activity level in court is a strong indication of how busy a firm’s litigation practice is. Accordingly, The Lawyer Court Rankings 2016 showcases those firms battling on disputes with the highest possible stakes.