Following a year of intense global expansion, turnover across the UK, the Middle East and Africa at Dentons rose 7% in 2015/16 to £165m.
The region made £10m more than in 2014/15 following strong growth in the firm’s corporate and commercial groups. The firm put this down to a combination of recent lateral hires, with David Collins’ arrival from Berwin Leighton Paisner as co-chair of global M&A the most prominent, and increasing amounts of cross-border work following its global merger spree that saw Dentons combine McKenna Long & Aldridge in the US and Dacheng in China to become the largest law firm in the world by headcount. The strong increase in revenue last year means turnover across the region is up 23% over the last three years.
Net profit was up 15% to from £34m in 2014/15 to £39m last year. But given large investments in lateral hires and technology, profits per equity partner (PEP) were up by 6% to £530,000. This means the average partner across the region earned an extra £28,000 last year. PEP has been rising sharply across the region in recent years, after something of a tumultuous start for a business group based on Denton Wilde Sapte following its breakthrough merger with US firm Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal in 2010 that would lead to the creation of Dentons. PEP is up 61% over the last three years.
The firm made over 20 lateral hires across the region last year, most notably with the arrival of a 75-strong banking and finance litigation team from Matthew Arnold & Baldwin that saw the firm launch in Watford. The firm cited strong growth in its disputes revenue, and secured a string of high-profile legal panel appointments including Nokia, John Lewis, Royal Mail and Network Rail.
Net cash in the bank as at year end 15/16 was £13.2m, representing a substantial improvement in the firm’s cashflow position during the last couple of years. Net cash at the end of 2014/15 stood at £4.2m.
For more on Dentons’ rapid growth see: ‘The pitch – A new kind of global law firm emerges but can Dentons live up to the hype?’