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Quinn Emanuel defies crisis with striking 27% spike in City turnover

Showing no sign of pandemic-induced slowdown, US-bred dispute resolution specialist Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has hiked London revenues by 27% to reach £127.4m.

There was further cause for cheer for the firm as profits shot up 34% to around £91m, putting the office’s profit margin at an impressive 71%.

London senior partner Richard East (pictured) described the results as ‘truly astounding’ within the context of the Covid-19 crisis. He told Legal Business: ‘I was quite frankly amazed how quickly and seamlessly the office transitioned to remote working.’

He added that the results ‘derive from the total commitment to the service of our clients that has been shown by our London workforce’.

It is hard to dispute East’s assessment, given the firm considerably outstripped its 2020, pre-pandemic growth. Last year, the firm recorded an above-trend 15% rise in revenue to break the £100m barrier, while profit grew 11% to £67.2m.

Standout mandates for 2020 included the firm’s landmark Supreme Court win in December, where Mastercard’s efforts to thwart former financial ombudsman Walter Merricks’ £14bn group action claim against it were quashed. Merricks was represented by Quinn partners Boris Bronfentrinker and Nicola Chesaites, who instructed Monckton Chambers’ Paul Harris QC, and Brick Court’s Marie Demetriou QC and Victoria Wakefield QC.

East himself led as the firm advised Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank in its capacity as lead creditor to healthcare chain NMC Health, which was threatened with administration. London partner Robert Hickmott and civil fraud chair Nick Marsh completed the team.

Quinn’s London office currently comprises 23 partners, 72 associates, and eight of counsel. It expanded in seniority last year, after litigation partner Justin Michaelson was brought in from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson.

These results are a positive indicator that the City’s disputes teams have coped with the pandemic well. While results are likely to be weaker at more generalist firms or those with a transactional hedge, Quinn’s latest results suggest that the old wisdom around disputes teams profiting from global uncertainty is well-founded.