US outfit King & Spalding notched a 12% growth in its UK business for 2018, with London revenue rising to $48.3m, up from $43.1m last year.
Meanwhile, firmwide revenues rose 9% to $1.26bn from $1.14bn in 2017, while firmwide profit per equity partner rose 9% to $2.85m. The results in London in particular mark a stronger performance for the firm, after only managing to inch revenue forward 1% last year from $42.6m to $43.1m.
Commenting on the results, King & Spalding’s London managing partner Tom Sprange QC said: ‘The firm identified London, alongside New York, as a key office for expansion so our figures, with increases in both revenue and headcount, show we are developing some genuine traction. The numbers are encouraging, of course, but expansion is an ongoing, evolving process – especially in a competitive legal market such as London. We are continuing this momentum into 2019 and beyond with further investments and quality additions across our transactional, disputes and investigations practices. It is a long-term strategy.’
The results mean between 2013 and 2018 the firm has recorded a 106% increase in London revenue. In 2018 the firm made three lateral partner hires in London with former Hogan Lovells partner Derek Meilman and ex-White & Case partner David Cox the standout transfers. London lawyer headcount for the firm currently stands at 54, while City revenues make up approximately 4% of the firm’s global turnover. It is not simply in size where the firm is gaining traction – in 2018 the firm acted on LCCG’s £1.8bn deal with Equitable Life, fielding a London-based team on the mandate.
‘We added high-quality partners across our international network in 2018, including in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Asia,’ said King & Spalding chairman Robert Hays. ‘We have good momentum but take nothing for granted.’
These results extend the narrative of US firms performing well in the City further, with White & Case scoring a 7% revenue increase to $350m in London while Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy recorded a pacey 25% uptick in City turnover.