US firms sustain City growth as White & Case posts 4% London revenue bump and Cooley turnover hits $47m
16 February 2017 10:06
by Madeleine Farman and Matthew Field
White & Case posted a 7% increase in global revenue for 2016 reaching $1.63bn, up on last year's 1% increase in revenue of $1.52bn. Profits per equity partner also jumped by 2% to $2.05m up on last year's $2.02m. Revenue per lawyer saw a 5% increase to $833,000 after 2015's dip of less than 1%
London executive partner Oliver Brettle (pictured) said it had been a strong year globally for M&A, antitrust, disputes, financial restructuring and insolvency, and international arbitration.
'It was a pretty strong set of results across the board,' Brettle told Legal Business. 'We've managed to achieve the growth in profitability and revenue at a time when we've been making pretty substantial investments. Looking at the London results, to achieve results like that, an actual growth in revenue in dollar terms given a lot of our revenue in London is in pounds and euros, are results we can be quite pleased with.'
Headcount at the US firm is up 2% from 2015 with a total of 1,957 lawyers. New York has seen a 19% increase in lawyers since July 2015 while London saw an increase of 12%. White & Case has been bulking up its City practice with plans to have more than 500 lawyers in London in four years as part of its 2020 strategy.
Key additions to the firm's City office include former Clifford Chance corporate partner Patrick Sarch and Macfarlanes competition and EU head Marc Israel who both joined on January 1. The firm also promoted eight in London last month.
Meanwhile, Cooley saw a 7% revenue increase for 2016 to $974m. In 2015 the firm saw a 14% rise to $912m. Profits per partner were up by 4% to $1.96m while revenue per lawyer remained stagnant at $1.14m.
The US firm's London office hit $47m in 2016, exceeding 2015's ballpark predictions for turnover which were upwards of $40m. The City outpost took on four partners during the year including senior finance partner John Clark from Mayer Brown.
Cooley London managing partner Justin Stock said the financials were 'good results for tumultuous times'. He added: 'We have had standout deals in life sciences and tech M&A. We are growing more this year, there is no magic number but we definitely want to grow more on the corporate side.'
Cooley also landed the largest transaction in its history advising biopharmaceutical company Medivation on its agreement to sell to Pfizer for approximately $14bn.