Latham & Watkins has joined a pool of strong US firm performances in the City in 2014 and recorded a 20% jump in London office revenues to £163m ($267m) from £135m ($211m) in 2013.
Having proved itself a pace setter with a heavy focus on private equity and funds, Latham’s growth in the City has also seen headcount increase 95% to 296 fee earners and 67 partners over the last five years. Last year saw seven partners join Latham in London, with six arriving from rival firms, including Clifford Chance M&A duo Kem Ihenacho and Tom Evans, and investment funds specialist Nick Benson from Weil, Gotshal & Manges.
The leap makes Latham the highest revenue generator in London for a foreign firm, while following in second is White & Case which enjoyed a robust increase in London revenue to £155m from £140m.
The firm’s UK agenda this year includes the opening of a business services office in Manchester during the first half to meet growing demand in London and Europe.
Latham’s global results announced in March also surged 14% to $2.61bn from $2.29bn in 2013, making it the largest law firm by revenue in the world. Managing partner Bill Voge attributed the growth to global M&A recovery and its clients increasingly using multiple offices.
The firm further posted its highest ever profits per equity partner (PEP), which rose 17% to $2.9m, placing the firm closer to peer Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, while also bridging the gap with some of New York’s traditional elite, such as Davis Polk & Wardwell and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.
Other firms in line with robust City growth includes Ropes & Gray which, after increasing its headcount by 17%, saw London revenues rise by 30% in 2014, bringing the figure to around $64m. Weil and Covington & Burling revealed healthy growth rates for their London offices with a 10% rise to $125m from Weil while Covington was up 7% to $64m.
For more on US firms in London, see Game Over – Global London firms make winning moves as US players secure their breakthrough