Legal Business Blogs

Gold’s blend: Mishcons managing partner reflects on another year of trend-busting growth

It’s become a familiar fixture in the annual reporting season to see Mishcon de Reya announce annual growth rates that are the envy of its peers and the London law firm hasn’t disappointed.

This week, Mishcons confirmed a turnover increase of 14% to £83.5m for 2012/13 – an increase of £10m on last year’s £73.1m. Profits per equity partner at the 300-lawyer firm are expected to top £700,000, making it one of the most profitable firms outside the City top 10. Mishcons has now grown revenues by nearly 200% since 2006/07, a performance vastly ahead of the LB100 average.

Legal Business caught up with managing partner Kevin Gold to find out what the firm is putting in the Kool-Aid.

Gold says that its growth has come in large part from an ambitious three-year strategy that has seen the firm invest heavily through the down-turn. As part of this Mishcon aimed to build a distinct brand as an adviser bridging high-end private client work with an entrepreneur-heavy corporate client base.

This link is neatly made through the firm’s heavily-promoted motto, ‘It’s business. But it’s personal’.

On its corporate ambitions, Gold says: ‘Our corporate business has grown in its own right. We invested heavily in private capital and private equity, while the real estate practice is also important.’

But despite Mishcons’ rising transactional aspirations, there is no doubt that the firm still sees disputes as core to its growth and has no intention of aping the full-service model of many City rivals. ‘We are generally conflict-free against banks and financial institutions,’ he says.

He adds: ‘We have ambitions to be known as one of the leading litigation firms in London. We have an army of just under 200 litigators in the firm, and across our practice areas, to solidify and communicate our offering.’

Gold is likewise adamant that the firm’s against-trend decision to stick with private client has helped drive its recent success. He also stresses the natural link between the private client and contentious sides of the firm. ‘We continue to grow the reputation in a private space and dealing with big disputes which might involve underlying multinational companies but are really private disputes at the top end.’

The firm will shortly launch a new venture for high-net-worth individuals called Mishcon Private. Executive partner and head of Mishcon Private James Libson has been leading the project. The service will look after the interests – legal and non-legal – of private families and individuals including trusts, tax planning, reputation management, family issues, and business matters.

It will create a service that Gold says will provide ‘an all-encompassing solution’ to high-net clients. Gold pitches the approach: ‘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.’

Despite Mishcons’ bold decision to launch a litigation practice in the US in 2010, Gold says the next three years will see it avoid any further international launches. However, the firm is planning to unify its expanding London business from three current sites into one building in the near future.

The firm has a (now rather conservative-looking) revenue target of £100m by 2016, and a spate of recent lateral hires – including real estate partner Raji Bartlett from SJ Berwin and Dundas & Wilson private equity duo Simon Sale and Nadim Meer – suggest the expansive form will continue.

If it ain’t broke…..