Legal Business Blogs

Sector focus vindicated for Watson Farley & Williams as it maintains pace with 13% H1 revenue surge

After quietly establishing itself as one of the LB100’s strongest performers in the last financial year, Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) has recorded a 13% jump in its 2017/18 half-year revenues.

Turnover for the first half of the financial year to 31 October has grown to £76.1m, which is up from £67.6m on the previous year. WFW co-managing partner Chris Lowe (pictured) argued that the strong result was ‘clear evidence of the success of our industry sector-focused model despite a challenging macro-economic environment.’

The firm has historic strength in its principal areas of transport, energy and real estate and was able to pick up a significant mandate in July, advising a group of 27 international and local banks acting as financiers on a $14bn merger between shipping giants Hapag-Lloyd and United Arab Shipping Company (UASC).

In a statement, co-managing partner Lothar Wegener added: ‘The considerable investment the firm has made into our business services over the past few years, alongside our strategy of targeted lateral hiring of high-calibre lawyers in our specialist sectors of transport, energy and real estate, continue to pay off.’

The half-year results build on positive figures from the last full financial year, where global revenues jumped 20% from £131.2m to £159.8m. At the time, Lowe said that around 10% of the growth was in real terms, while the remaining 10% was due to exchange rate fluctuations. Lowe also confirmed that the firm’s profit per equity partner (PEP) increased from around £500,000 in 2016 to £600,000 in 2017.

However, WFW has not been able to match the half-year performance of fellow mid-tier pacesetter Fieldfisher, which this month announced a strong 20% rise in H1 turnover from £64.1m to £76.8m.

Fieldfisher also excelled in its full-year financial performance for 2016/17, becoming the best-performing firm for revenue growth year-on-year in the LB100, with turnover up 36% to £165m.