Legal Business Blogs

‘A transformed business’: Mishcon de Reya unveils ten-year strategy

Following a year-long consultation with the partnership and external advisers, high-flying City firm Mishcon de Reya has revealed a refreshed business strategy for the next decade, with a target to lift UK revenue by 40% to £175m within the next three years. Unaudited figures for 2015/16 project revenue to be in excess of £125m.

The 400-lawyer firm held its annual partnership conference in recent weeks at its headquarters at Africa House in Holborn, where managing partner Kevin Gold presented key points of the strategy spanning until 2026, subdivided into three year plans.

Speaking to Legal Business Gold (pictured) said he expected the litigation practice to increase from £35m to £53m, corporate from £20m to £26m, private client from £20m to £24m, employment from £8.5m to £11.3m and family from £6.2m to £7.5m.

While traditionally the firm has stuck to short term plans, Gold said: ‘We found as we got bigger, the time horizons were getting quite small…you get a fairly anodyne view on facts and figures as opposed to looking further afield – we wanted to ask – what firm are we going to be?’

Gold said disputes will remain a key focus with the firm aiming to launch a regulatory practice within the next year, and enhance its insurance, business crime, contentious tax, and international arbitration offering.

Gold also voiced the firm’s ambition to be a leading mid-market corporate department in London providing transactional support, regulatory advice, private equity and tax consultancy.

Major investment in technology is also on the agenda in order to ‘liberate fee earners.’ Chief strategy officer Nick West, who joined from alternative supplier Axiom earlier this year, is tasked to ‘drive the automation of everything that can be automated whether it’s legal or process.’ During that same period West will establish an internal laboratory to vet artificial intelligence initiatives in a bid to make the firm an ‘early adopter for new technologies.’

Following on from the roll-out of its private client and e-discovery ventures in recent years, ultimately Gold says the firm envisions itself over the next decade growing as a broad-based consultancy business.

However the firm’s New York office – a separate business which generated around $13m annually – is being scaled back to a patent only practice, and the firm is in the process of moving a four-partner team to smaller offices from Park Avenue to Soho.

As for firmwide remuneration, Gold said the option to move to a John Lewis-style partnership model that would see all staff own a stake in the business continues to be mooted. He does, however, point towards his ‘personal dislike of bonuses as opposed to ownership return.’

‘Bonuses take a huge amount of time. They’re unsatisfactory whereas if people have a vested interest and treat the firm like they treat their home we think we’ll get better returns from people and for them as members of staff.’

For Gold the concept of origination has increasingly become a ‘meaningless metric by itself’ and the various metrics to measure reward currently include contribution to knowledge training, mentoring, monitoring, and work generation.

‘As the firm and quality of clients have grown, very few people can claim to own a client individually. Once you bring in other metrics like generosity – how you take that introduction to a client and pass it on to someone else. That is built on the premise that the firm is different to others – it’s more important than the individual.’