8. European Law Firm of the Year-Article-201612071321  (L-R): Awards host David Mitchell, Noerr’s Thomas Schulz and Robert Korndorfer, Legal Week’s James Booth)         

Finalists: Asters, Cuatrecasas Goncalves Pereira (highly commended), Garrigues, Kinstellar, Magnusson, Mourant Ozannes and Uria Menendez

German law firm Noerr took home the prize in this category after impressing the judges with its financial performance, commitment to diversity and entrepreneurial culture.

Noerr had a strong year, growing turnover by 7% in 2015. The firm won places on the panels of major companies such as Deutsche Telekom, chemicals company Evonik and engineering company Siemens.

Significant mandates during the course of the year included advising Allianz Real Estate on a €500m joint venture with European logistics real estate developer VGP, acting for energy company Areva on the sale of part of its nuclear business, and acting for Singaporean e-commerce company Lazada on its takeover by Alibaba.

Judges were also swayed by the firm’s commitment to diversity. One judge said the firm had “impressive stats for women partners”, was “dynamic in its approach to corporate social responsibility” (CSR) and also noted its “commitment to people development programmes”.

Since October 2014, the percentage of female associated partners at the firm has risen by 7% to 26% and the share of female equity partners by 1% to 9%.

The firm has a programme called Noerr Campus, which offers lawyers personal and professional development. In 2016, 340 professionals at the firm received a total of 4,200 hours of training.

As part of its CSR programme, Noerr has partnered with consumer products company Henkel and engineering company RWE to establish the German Tech Entrepreneurship Center in Berlin.

This startup platform aims to encourage entrepreneurship and helps match technology-based startups with accelerators, universities, venture capital funds and business angels.