Bird & Bird has recorded its 26th year of turnover growth, with global revenues for 2016/17 up 5% in euros to €361m from €343.8m, which translates to a 11% increase in sterling from £273.8m to £303.2m.
The firm said that turnover increased ‘by 11% globally in underlying local currencies’ compared to 2015/16. It has yet to announce profit figures but David Kerr (pictured), who has been the firm’s CEO for more than 20 years, told Legal Business he expected to see a ‘very similar increase’ in profitability.
The technology-focused firm attributed the performance to what it described as ‘double-digit growth’ in the key practice areas of corporate, IP and employment.
It advised Nokia on its patent dispute with Apple, which settled in May, and Capgemini’s divestment of its IBX Business Network to Tradeshift. It also acted on ARM’s investment in Blu Wireless Technology to help it accelerate the rollout of 5G networks.
‘We get involved in complicated technology matters other firms struggle with,’ said Kerr. ‘I am very pleased with our performance given that other firms were struggling while we were not. Our focus on technology has proven successful.’
In terms of headcount growth, overall lawyer numbers are up slightly from 1,084 to 1,141, while the firm completed 26 lateral hires and 16 promotions to partnership in the past financial year, bringing the total number of partners to 291 across its 28 offices in Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific.
Kerr said partnership recruitment had made an immediate contribution to the firm over the year. ‘We have a very clear vision and a very clear mission. Partners seek us out and want to join us specifically for our focus on technology and our strategy. That makes it much easier for them to integrate: it is not just partners wanting to change firm, they know our strategy, they know what firm they are joining.’
Bird & Bird also advised the European Commission and UK government on changes to data protection regulation, the UK government on the investigatory powers bill, and the European Commission on the effectiveness of EU rules on state aid for research, development and innovation.
The firm said this demonstrated it was helping ‘set the legislative agenda in the areas where we operate’.