Legal Business Blogs

Gowling WLG revenue climbs to £455m in second post-merger financial results

Gowling WLG has replicated a broadly strong year for law firms after adding nearly 17% to its top line.

The firm’s second full financial year since the 2016 tie-up between Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co and Canadian firm Gowlings saw revenue increase to £455.5m from £390.1m last year.

Legal Business estimated profit per equity partner (PEP) at the firm, which does not report a global PEP figure, was £415,000 last year. The combination is structured as a UK company limited by guarantee (CLG), with both profits and partnerships kept separate. The Canadian arm does not formally publish financial results.

But the firm did say Canada, which has nearly 650 lawyers and 407 partners, generated 59% of the firm’s global revenue, with the remainder mostly generated in EMEA, and 1% in China. Overall partner numbers dropped from 566 to 553 while equity partners similarly fell to 376 from 400. The firm says it made 20 lateral partner hires globally during the financial year and promoted 24 to its partnership.

The firm’s key clients include AstraZeneca, Bombardier, Dyson, eBay, Estee Lauder, Royal Bank of Canada and Weetabix. During the year it also won spots on the panels of Yum! Brands, Metro Bank and the Pension Protection Fund.

It was, however, hit by the departure of its legacy Lawrence Graham private client team to Forsters in March last year. Four partners, including former private client head Anthony Thompson, left in what was described by Gowling chief executive David Fennell as ‘the right move’ for both the team and the firm.

Alongside its post-merger revenue growth, Gowling has a long-talked about ambition to expand through further mergers. Germany is the main priority for the firm, while Southeast Asia, most likely Singapore, is also an area of interest.