The financial performance of Travers Smith has seen a dramatic double-digit bounce-back as turnover increased 15% to £185.7m and profit per equity partner soared 22% to £1.22m. The eye-catching PEP result came even as the number of full equity partners remained broadly flat at 57 compared with 56 last year.
The provisional results for the year ended 30 June 2021 announced today (9 August) will be a welcome return to form after last year’s disappointing showing when the firm suffered a 1% revenue drop to £160.9m, stymying a decade-long run of uninterrupted turnover growth. PEP also fell 20% to £1m, with the results being adversely affected by a reporting period that ran to the end of June, rather than April, giving the firm greater exposure to the pandemic downturn.
Travers’ managing partner Edmund Reed attributed the figures to continued investment in the business, including building across core areas of asset management, M&A and dispute resolution and investigations. ‘This has enabled us to attract a number of significant instructions from clients, which have kept our teams busy. None of us were expecting that we would be living and working under lockdown restrictions for such a long period of time. The way our people performed during the crisis continues to be amazing: by supporting each other both professionally and personally, every team across the firm has contributed to produce these excellent results. I am very proud of what we have achieved through this extraordinarily difficult period.’
‘The next 12 months will no doubt present new challenges, but we go into our new financial year in very good shape, confident in our model, and with a healthy pipeline of work. I am grateful for the support and trust placed in us by both our people and our clients,’ added Reed.
The firm promoted seven lawyers to the partnership during the year, across the focus areas of dispute resolution, private equity and financial sponsors funds, finance and financial services and markets.
In July, the firm also said it had recruited infrastructure finance specialist Ben Thompson from Weil, Gotshal & Manges to work closely with the corporate team led by Spencer Summerfield, Mohammed Senouci and Jonathan Walters.
Travers offered up a long list of desirable mandates for the year across its asset management, M&A and disputes and investigations practice areas. Teams acted for longstanding client Medicxi, the European life sciences investment firm, on a €200m structured secondary transaction, Investec Bank on one of the first ESG-linked subscription facilities in Europe and Nortel Networks UK Pensions Trust on a further buyout, bringing the total value of transactions between the Nortel Networks UK Pension Plan and Legal & General to over £2.5bn.
M&A highlights include advising Inflexion on its partnership investment in Digital Wholesale Solutions, a leading independent unified communications and cloud platform provider, currently a division of Daisy Group, and Macquarie Capital Principal Finance on its acquisition of a majority stake in Wavenet Group Holdings Limited. Disputes teams have handled matters including Hewlett Packard Enterprise on fraud claims amounting to $5bn, with parallel criminal proceedings in the US, arising out of the $11bn acquisition of Autonomy in late 2011.
The firm also points to a number of technology projects developed by its in-house team, which have created significant efficiencies and cost savings for clients. These include Etatonna, the first legal industry data labelling AI platform, which labels concepts in contracts for the purpose of automated document review, and its first product, a free force majeure app for clients.
Commenting on the results, senior partner Kathleen Russ (pictured) was bullish: ‘Our continued success reflects our firm’s stellar reputation in our core areas and is a testament to the hard work, resilience and commitment of everyone in the firm. Our teams have been there for our clients every step of the way throughout the pandemic. At the same time, many of our people continued to do inspirational things – helping those in need and contributing to the wider community, while at the same time doing all they could to support each other. I am incredibly proud of our firm and grateful to our teams for all their efforts.’