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‘Another fantastic year’: Cooley City revenue surges 16% as global top line hits $1.23bn

Cooley’s London branch has recorded another year of double-digit revenue growth as its top line grew 16% to $66.7m, four years after its launch.

For the second year in a row, the City office outpaced the Palo Alto-bred firm’s global revenue growth, as the latter rose 14% from $1.07bn to $1.23bn. Global profit per equity partner also grew 14% to $2.4m, while revenue per lawyer was up 8% to $1.3m.

The revenue growth in the London office follows last year’s eye-catching 22% hike to $57.5m, and means its City offering now accounts for the 5% of the firm’s global revenue. An upbeat London managing partner Justin Stock spoke of ‘another fantastic year’ for the firm. ‘Our capital markets practice was a standout. M&A, both in London and the US, was pretty good.’

Discussing the performance of the London office, Stock pointed to the fact that double-digit growth had been achieved ‘without a huge growth on the lateral front – it’s about the existing team having a fantastic year.’

Lawyer headcount of the London office rose 19% to 95, up from 80 at the end of 2017. It counted 29 partners at the end of last year. The firm added three partners laterally in 2018, hiring IP specialist Charlie Winckworth from Hogan Lovells in January, adding David Wilson from Davis Polk & Wardwell to its tax team in May, and Michal Berkner from Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom to its M&A practice in February. The London office also saw the first three partner promotions in its history, effective at the start of 2019.

Around 30% of City revenue came from the firm’s US client base. Mandates included representing UK IT company Endava on its $126.8m IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. Highlights for the firm globally included opening its second Chinese office in Beijing in January last year, following the launch in Shanghai in 2011. ‘China had a good year. Both offices were really busy,’ said Stock. ‘I would not be surprised if we do something else in the Far East this year.’

The firm started the New Year with another office launch, opening its first continental European base in Brussels . Cooley continues to look at Germany as the next step in its European expansion, but Stock said it was unlikely to open there this year.

Two other expansive US firms announced strong revenue growth in their City outposts this week. White & Case’s City revenue was up 7% to $350m, while Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy posted a substantive 25% revenue hike for its City branch to $156m.

For more on Cooley’s London base, see Global London Focus: Cooley (£)