If formal management elections are a sign of a firm coming of age then Mishcon de Reya, the second fastest growing firm in terms or organic revenue over the past five years, is all grown up, with Kevin Gold and two department heads formally elected for a further term.
The 254-lawyer firm has given its vote of confidence to incumbent head of corporate Nick Davis and disputes leader Kas Nouroozi, although, given that neither Gold nor the department heads faced any challengers, the inaugural election appointments have more of the symbolic than the victorious about them.
The new election process means that Mishcon’s partners will vote for two of the department heads every two years on a rolling basis, while the managing partner position will be voted on every three years. Other heads of department include family practice leader Sandra Davis, James Libson, who runs private client and is also the executive partner, employment chief Joanna Blackburn and head of real estate Nick Doffman.
Davis told Legal Business: ‘We’ve grown quite a lot – it’s about growing up as a firm and making sure we have the proper succession plans in place. It’s about building a proper platform – the firm has changed a lot in nine years. It’s about growing up and having the right structure in place. It’s an incredibly happy place. That’s the best thing about the firm. We feel we’re winning market share, even in difficult times, we’ve grown.’
Gold (pictured), who reluctantly took over the MP role in 1998 alongside Philip Freedman QC, becoming sole managing partner in 2002, was a safe bet. Last year, when Legal Business profiled the highly profitable top 50 firm, Gold was described variously by partners as ‘visionary’, ‘extraordinary’ and ‘a fantastic leader’, with one ex-partner (a breed more given to indiscretion than praise) waxing: ‘I can’t imagine Mishcons without Kevin as managing partner.’
Since then, the firm has had another impressive financial year, its 2012/13 revenues up by 21% to £88.4m while the profit per equity partner rose by 20% to £840,000.
By profitability, the firm now sits just outside the top 10 firms in the LB100.
The firm also has had a few new and interesting developments up its sleeve, including the launch of a venture for high-net-worth individuals headed by Libson. The service looks after the interests – legal and non-legal – of private families and individuals including trusts, tax planning, reputation management, family issues, and business matters.
Back in May, Gold pitched the new service to Legal Business as providing ‘an all-encompassing solution’ to high-net clients, adding, ‘It’s bringing together the unified message that speaks to our client base… [We’re] ready to be distinguished from acting as advisers for FTSE100 companies, which is not our space.’
However, with success comes a pressure to sustain the firm’s performance in an enduringly turbulent market. Pressed last year on when he might step down, Gold gave the emphatic answer: ‘Not for a while’. Now we know, not for three years, at least.