Legal Business Blogs

DLA global turnover surpasses $2.8bn in second year of growth

DLA Piper added 8% to its global top line in 2018, making for consecutive years of growth following a dip in 2016.

The firm’s global revenue rose to $2.84bn, up on last year’s $2.63bn and continuing a bounce back from when the firm’s total turnover dipped below $2.5bn in 2016 because of exchange rate fluctuations across its international business, which is divided between an international LLP and a US LLP.

Profits per equity partner also rose in 2018, up 7% to $1.87m. Total lawyer numbers rose slightly to 3,702, following drops in each of the previous years, while revenue per lawyer rose 5% to $766,124. Net profit was up 6% to $751m.

DLA’s strong global performance follows growth in the firm’s international LLP, in which growth in the UK business pushed revenue to £919m even as 2017’s cyber-attack took its toll on profit.

The firm’s international (non-US) revenue for the year to 30 April 2018, announced in February, grew £42.2m, or 5%, of which £29m related to the UK business. Stripping out the impact of foreign exchange, however, fee income was up £33.1m, or about 4%.

Growth in UK fee income of about 10% was one of the strongest performances in the firm’s international regions, while Europe and Asia-Pacific saw more modest, single-digit growth. Profit at the international LLP, meanwhile, was up £11.4m to £315.8m.

In February, DLA chief financial officer Paul Edwards told Legal Business the firm’s 2017 cyber incident, which occurred during this year’s results period, had impacted profit. ‘I couldn’t even give you a number on this but I do know it cost us,’ he commented. ‘Had that not happened we’d be talking about, I believe, an even stronger year.’

DLA’s global results follow a slew of US firms announcing strong financial results recently. Last week, Latham & Watkins posted 11% revenue growth to hit £3.386bn in the year after becoming the first law firm to break the $3bn barrier.

For more on DLA’s ambitions, read Legal Business’ interview with co-chief executive Simon Levine, ‘On this rock I build…’