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Cadwalader London office turnover nears $45m as firm quadruples City practice in four years

While the firm has been the subject of media scrutiny as it refocuses its US business, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft has enjoyed solid growth in its London office with turnover up to $44.9m, Legal Business can reveal.

The firm, which has not revealed London revenue figures in the past, recorded around 10% City growth in 2016 from $40.9m in 2015, as headcount increased from 56 lawyers to 60.

Cadwalader has grown its City practice despite retrenching from other jurisdictions in recent years, with office turnover having quadrupled from around $10.8m four years ago when the firm had just 18 lawyers in London.

Cadwalader London managing partner Greg Petrick (pictured) said: ‘We are very busy and see opportunities to add headcount in virtually all our practice areas. I could see us doubling our current headcount over the next four to five years. We have just taken on more office space in the City, for the second time in the past three years, to accommodate our continued growth.’

The firm has moved to restructure its global practice, pulling back in 2016 from Chinese outposts in Beijing and Hong Kong and shutting down its Houston operations.

Global growth has also stalled in recent years, as Cadwalader’s firmwide revenue fell 3% to $452m for 2016 following a 4% fall drop the previous year. Profit per equity partner, however, increased 3% to $2.1m. The firm has recently been hounded by rumours it is trimming back for a merger partner, although this has been repeatedly denied by management.

While the firm has cut back slightly on overall headcount, which fell 2% to 438 last year, London has seen renewed investment, with two City partner promotions in December and the additions of Bird & Bird disputes partner Steven Baker and King & Wood Mallesons finance partner Jeremy Cross. Former London managing partner Angus Duncan recently left for Winston & Strawn.

Cadwalader global managing partner Pat Quinn said the London office would continue to invest in its historic specialisms of structured products, finance and restructuring.

Quinn added: ‘We have been successful because we have emphasised the practices where our natural client base looks to us the most. Our best opportunity for growth, both in London and for the firm broadly, is in understanding the needs of our natural client base – financial institutions, large corporates and, increasingly, private funds – and continuing to deepen and expand our ability to serve those needs.’