With specialist law firms striking an increasingly confident note in the market, this award will be handed to a boutique practice that has performed exceptionally in terms of rapidly establishing itself, approaching its chosen market creatively and effectively competing against far larger competition.
2017 Winner: Three Crowns
Constantine Partasides QC
Three Crowns has been one of the most-talked-about boutiques in recent years, after launching to much fanfare in 2014. Established by a trio of market-leading arbitration specialists from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, the firm continues to challenge the status quo of the international arbitration market.
Formed in 2009, this litigation boutique has become an established player in a highly competitive market. The firm has average fees per fee-earner of £700,000, and average profits per equity partner of £2.5m, a level of profitability achieved thanks to involvement in high-award cases on a contingency fee basis.
Another disputes boutique that has caught the eye acting on a number of the most high-profile cases, including representing Tesco in its interchange fee claim against Visa. An impressive client list includes WH Smith, UBS, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Centrica and Royal Bank of Canada.
Tim Powell, Penny Gilbert
Firmly established as the definitive IP boutique since its 2007 breakaway from Bristows, Powell Gilbert has rapidly grown, currently billing close to £12m with a profit margin of over 50% on the back of work for clients such as Huawei and Actavis.
SACKER & PARTNERS
A pioneering specialist law firm, Sackers celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016. With clients that include Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC, John Lewis and ITV, the firm enjoyed a record year as revenue climbed £3.1m to £26.8m. Profits rose by 15% from £13.6m to £15.3m.
Signature Litigation has seen revenue soar by 36% to £10.2m for the 2015/16 financial year, against a 50% profit margin. Recent highlights include acting in the ongoing £4bn shareholder group action against the Royal Bank of Scotland, as well as a major dispute against Credit Suisse on behalf of the investment fund of Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili and his family.