Legal Business Blogs

City ambitions – Mayer Brown adds to London laterals tally with hire of BLP finance partner

Mayer Brown has added to its tally of recent London hires as Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) finance and restructuring partner Trevor Wood joins the US firm.

Wood will be reunited with former BLP banking and finance partner Richard Todd when he joins 1,536-lawyer Mayer Brown, which has made six lateral hires in its London office in the last month, compared to just five in 2012.

Meanwhile, BLP’s partner departures continue in the wake of the firm’s disclosure in September that its profits for 2012/13 are down by nearly 40%. The firm also unveiled a drop in revenues this summer of 5% to £233m, making it the worst financial performer of the top 25 UK firms.

At the start of this month (October) BLP private equity partner Michael Weir joined former colleague and head of private equity Raymond McKeeve at Jones Day. Other recent departures include Patrick Somers, who spearheaded BLP’s Managed Legal Services initiative and who joined DLA Piper in September. In the same month, Mishcon de Reya announced the hire of non-contentious commercial partner Adam Rose, while rated contentious tax head Liesl Fichardt left for Clifford Chance.

The moves come as BLP moves to address its profitability issues. The top 20 firm also completed a redundancy round in May, which resulted in the loss of 102 jobs including 58 legal staff and 44 secretarial staff with the aim of reducing salary costs by 15%.

Before this year BLP was labelled as one of the most upwardly mobile firms in the last decade, with an enviable long-term performance. However, over-expansion into difficult markets, together with a drop in transactional work and the cost of an aggressive lateral hiring strategy has seen it hit hard, although, according to one senior partner at the firm, BLP has already seen growth on this time last year.

For further analysis of BLP’s performance see Comment: The lingering enigma of BLP’s bad year