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Modest gains: London a key factor as Debevoise & Plimpton reveals revenues up 3%

Debevoise & Plimpton has posted a 3% rise in revenue for 2014 to $710m, up nearly $22m on 2013, while partner profits have also increased by 3%.

With Latham & Watkins leading the early pack of firms to announce their results with a 14% surge in profits to $2.61bn, and the likes of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and Davis Polk & Wardell both registering double-digit growth to pass the $1bn barrier, Debevoise & Plimpton’s results are more modest than its peers. However, with only a small increase in the size of its partnership, from 138 in 2013 to 134 in 2014, the growth is largely organic.

The firm also recorded a 3% rise in profits per equity partner, up from $2.31m in 2013 to $2.38m last year. Global net profit at Debevoise, which has 134 equity partners, stood at $319m at the end of 2014.

In revenue terms, the performance is slightly ahead of last year, where the firm reported 2% growth to $688m, However, PEP was up 11% in 2013, a performance the firm could not match this time around.

Debevoise had a strong year in transactions, with the London office advising the likes of Deutsche Bank, insurer Axa and private equity house Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. London-based corporate partner Raman Bet-Mansour handled Luxembourg-based Ray Investment on its €3.3bn exit from electrical group Rexel.

As for City team’s highly-regarded disputes practice, standout matters in 2014 include work on the $1.1bn dispute between Malaysia and Singapore over money the latter says it was owed from a land swap deal in 2010.

While London headcount grew from 96 in 2013 to 103 in 2014,  the firm has set its sights on growth in Asia, having hired Herbert Smith Freehills’ Asia managing partner Mark Johnson late last year.

Michael Blair, presiding partner at Debevoise, said: ‘London remains a success story for the firm. 2014 saw solid growth for us globally, including in revenues and profits, driven largely by successful strategic hires. London has been an important driver of that.’