Legal Business Blogs

City stalwart Macfarlanes opens in Brussels with KWM hires

Despite being known for its reluctance towards overseas expansion, Macfarlanes is launching a new office in Brussels early this year for the competition team it hired from King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) in December.

It has also emerged the firm closed its Johannesburg office in October last year after three years in business. This will make Brussels its only base outside of London. The Johannesburg office was shut after its only partner Scott Brodsky, formerly at Baker & McKenzie, left the practice to join a client.

The KWM competition trio which Macfarlanes hired late last year includes partners Cristophe Humpe, Tom Usher and Cameron Firth, alongside former KWM senior partner Stephen Kon who is joining the firm as a consultant.

Macfarlanes has seen revenue remain static at £161m for 2015/16, up less than 1% from £159.6m. The firm’s profit per equity partner is down 17% on 2014/15 when the firm reported PEP of £1.55m. Overall profits were also down to £74.5m, dropping 9% on 2014/15. The falling figures follow five years of top line growth.

Also last year, the partnership re-appointed Charles Martin (pictured) and Julian Howard to the roles of senior partner and managing partner respectively for another three years, five months earlier than their terms were expiring. Both Martin and Howard’s terms expire in May 2017, and the new ones will take effect for a further three years until May 2020.

Read more: ‘This is a gritty place’: Macfarlanes’ leaders on the hustle it takes to look effortless’