Contrasting fortunes summarises the position of two key US players in the London market these days, with an expansive Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy posting its highest-ever London revenues while Jones Day has seen three City partners leave since the start of the year.
Revenue at Milbank’s London office grew 9% to $125m in 2017 in a stronger performance compared to last year’s 4% rise to $114.1m.
The firm is yet to disclose its worldwide revenue and profits for 2017 but said it had the best–ever year both globally and in Europe.
‘London continues to thrive and to be a key part in our tremendously successful global business,’ London co-managing partner Julian Stait told Legal Business. ‘It was one of those years where all businesses across the piece had a really fantastic year, I am not sure there was a standout performer.’
2017 highlights include acting on a number of high-profile cases, including defending Visa alongside Linklaters in a claim brought by Sainsbury’s and acting for the defendants in a $1bn claim brought against a set of financial institutions accused of manipulating the Libor rate.
On the transactional side, the firm worked on the $3.7bn restructuring of offshore drilling services contractor Ocean Rig and advised the lenders on the £425m acquisition of vehicle rental firm Zenith Group by Bridgepoint Capital.
After a quiet 2017 in the lateral hire market, Milbank has started 2018 announcing a string of hires from a number of US rivals in the City, including high-yield specialist Apostolos Gkoutzinis from Shearman & Sterling and a four-partner restructuring team led by Yushan Ng from Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft.
The firm now counts 28 partners and around 150 lawyers in the City.
‘The recent hires were the icing on an already very successful cake,’ said Stait. ‘One of the priorities now is to embed these fantastic new businesses into our London office and global firm.’
Elsewhere, Jones Day lost its second and third City partners in as many weeks as corporate partner Dan Coppel left for Morrison & Foerster and financial services regulatory partner John Ahern moved to Katten Muchin Rosenman.
Coppel joined Jones Day from ailing Dewey & LeBoeuf in 2012 and focuses on cross-border M&A and private equity. Ahern had been hired seven years ago from Addleshaw Goddard and works on the regulation of banking and financial services in the UK and Europe.
These losses follow the departure of Jones Day’s acquisition and leveraged finance partner Paul Simcock, who joined Vinson & Elkins’s City arm in January.