Legal Business Blogs

Revenue recovers at DLA Piper as it joins $2.5bn club while profits tumble amid cutbacks

Following a flat 2014, revenue at DLA Piper rose by 2.5% last year as the firm broke the $2.5bn barrier for the first time.

With revenue at mid-tier rival Baker & McKenzie dropping to $2.43bn in its last financial year, which ends in June, DLA joins Latham & Watkins as one of just two law firms generating over $2.5bn.

Strong growth in DLA’s real estate, investigations and M&A practices helped to boost the firm’s top line, but a 14% drop in the number of equity partners at the firm last year saw net profit plunge 9% to $605.5m as the firm undertakes stricter performance management. The firm saw 62 equity partners leave DLA in 2015.

This fall in equity partners did, however, help the firm to push up its profit per partner to $1.57m. This equates to a 38% rise in profits per partner over the past five years as the firm looks to attract more top-tier work. Revenue per lawyer was flat at $675,000.

DLA’s international arm, which contains all offices outside of the Americas, recently approved an overhaul of its pay structure to introduce a points-based remuneration system better linking partner pay to its profit pot. The changes also introduced a lockstep system for new partners, lasting for three years, while they grow their practices.

Last year the firm sealed mergers in Canada through its tie-up with Davis and in Finland with the addition of Peltonen LMR. The firm also launched its first on the ground presence in Africa last year, with offices in Morocco and South Africa.