Legal Business Blogs

Better in the City: Baker & McKenzie’s London revenues up 9%, as global turnover dips

Despite a poor global performance last year, London revenue at Baker & McKenzie rose 9% in the same period to £145m, as the firm’s City headcount remains flat.

In the 12 months to 30 June 2015, revenue generated by Baker & McKenzie’s London office increased by £12m to £145m. During that period, the firm’s global revenue dropped 4% to $2.43bn while profits dropped 12% to $799m.

It is the firm’s biggest jump in revenue in the last five years, with Baker & McKenzie’s City office flat in 2013 and 2014. London headcount between 2010 and 2015 is up 7% to 396 lawyers, meaning the 19% rise in revenue from £122m in 2010 to £145m last year is largely organic and driven by improving productivity.

Headcount in the City remained flat on last year. While the firm has since suffered the recent high profile departures of global litigation head Tom Cassels to Linklaters and structured finance veteran Vincent Keaveny to DLA Piper, the firm has itself added Barclays’ financial crime chief Jonathan Peddie, Eversheds’ arbitration partner Andy Moody and Hogan Lovells’ banking litigator Hugh Lyons.

The firm secured a string of high profile mandates in the City last year, advising US agribusiness firm Cargill’s on its $1.5bn purchase of Norwegian fish-feed producer EWOS, US data centre operator Equinix on its £2.3bn acquisition of UK rival Telecity and insurer Towers Watson on its mammoth $18bn merger with Willis. The firm has also secured spots on the legal panels of Colt Technology Services, Unilever, British American Tobacco and Weir Group.

Paul Rawlinson, London managing partner of Baker & McKenzie, told Legal Business: ‘We’ve put in a strong performance and continue to grow our London offering. We’ve made strong hires across a number of practices and we are increasing our foothold in the UK market.’

Samantha Mobley, global head of EU, competition & trade at Baker & McKenzie, added: ‘The last five years has involved an upgrade of our client base to more of a focus on UK-headquartered Plcs. The clients that we’re working for are exactly the sort of clients I want to be working with and are testament to our now strong reputation in the market.”

In other US firm results, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy’s London office posted a 6% revenue rise in the 2015 calendar year to $110.2m, while Debevoise & Plimpton’s City office increased turnover 20% to $110.5m. Shearman & Sterling, which has achieved rapid growth in London over the last five years, registered more muted figures with a modest 3% rise in City revenue to $149m.