Legal Business Blogs

Revenue continues to fly at Bird & Bird as PEP growth lags behind

Global traveller Bird & Bird has recorded its 28th consecutive year of revenue growth, hiking its top line 7% to £361m in 2018/19 as profit per equity partner (PEP) rose 4% to £575,000.

Announced today (9 July), the results show the pace of growth slowed down in sterling terms compared to last year’s 11% uptick to £337m, but in euro terms it slightly improved, with a 7% hike to €409.5m compared to last year’s 6% growth.

The rise in PEP was however much smaller this time around, after increasing 10% to £550,000 in 2017/18.

Revenue per lawyer remained substantially flat this year, as the UK top 20 tech-focused firm increased its headcount by around 7% from 1,192 to 1,271. Partner headcount was down by one to 309.

Bird & Bird also made further progress in reducing its sizeable debt, which at the end of April 2019 stood at €22.5m compared to €49.3m two years before. On this front however progress was much slower than last year, as the debt had already been reduced to €26m in 2017/18.

An expansive globetrotter under David Kerr’s decades-spanning spell as chief executive, the firm was comparatively more conservative this year. This month it announced the opening of a ‘work space’ in Berlin, while in September last year it added its name to the list of UK tech firms with representative offices in the Bay Area, opening in San Francisco. The firm now counts 30 offices across 20 countries.

Mandates for the firm included advising UK fintech company Earthport on its recommended takeover by Visa for £198m and videogame developer Riot Games on its partnership with Nike, as well as acting on the proposed merger between T-Mobile Netherlands and Tele2 Netherlands.

The year also saw Kerr re-appointed to his role until 2022, meaning he is set to hit a record 26 years at the helm of the firm.

Kerr commented: ‘It’s been another strong year for us as a firm, and it’s great to see how we’re gaining momentum across the business. I’m especially proud that our people are creating unique offerings that bring real value to our clients’ businesses. We have an ambitious strategy in place for the year ahead, and I look forward to working with the management team and our colleagues across our network to achieve it.’