Legal Business Blogs

A tale of two firms: K&S London turnover drops by 8%, while Covington ups City revenue by 9%

King & Spalding‘s London revenue dipped by 8%, while Covington & Burling‘s City turnover went the other way, improving by 9% for the calendar year 2016.

King & Spalding’s City income is down to $42.6m from $46.5m in 2015, despite the firm’s global turnover increasing by nearly 4% to $1.1bn.

The lawyer headcount of the firm in London also dropped from 53 to 47, as the US firm’s London revenue per lawyer (RPL) increased by 3% from $877,358 the year before to $906,382 in 2016.

The firm’s London head Garry Pegg said: ‘While we saw a modest reduction in headcount last year and therefore an expected decrease in revenue, we continue to prioritise efficiency and productivity.’

Key mandates for King & Spalding in 2016 include representing Aldersgate Investments on the £2.4bn Global Switch deal in December last year, as well as GlaxoSmithKline on its strategic collaboration with Germany-based Miltenyi Biotec in March 2016.

Last year King & Spalding also hired Jones Day’s head of employment Jules Quinn, and relocated disputes partner John Savage QC to London from Singapore. Savage was made a Queen’s Counsel last month.

Meanwhile, Covington’s London revenue, which accounts for 8% of the firm’s global turnover, increased by 9% from $63.6m to $69.5m. Lawyer headcount at Covington also decreased marginally in the US firm’s London office from 85 to 83, including one less partner.

Globally, Covington’s RPL hit $1m for the first time last year, while revenue was up by 13%, around $96m, to $838.5m.

Covington recently hired five partners from King & Wood Mallesons’s collapsed EUME arm including KWM’s high-billing head of litigation Craig Pollack.

Pollack was one of the biggest billers at KWM’s City office and advises investment banks, hedge funds, public companies and high net worth individuals.

Major mandates include advising a major Russian telecoms provider in post-LCIA arbitration enforcement proceedings across various jurisdictions, and defending a star hedge fund manager in a Financial Conduct Authority investigation into regulatory breaches.

Other former King & Wood Mallesons partners to move to Covington include Alex Leitch, Greg Lascelles, and Elaine Whiteford.