Legal Business Blogs

Signature boosts revenue 16% as dispute boutiques sustain their ascendency

City litigation specialist Signature Litigation has capped off a run of high-profile mandates to record a 16% uptick in revenue for the 2016/17 financial year.

The rise sees turnover climb to £11.95m. Under Signature’s profit-sharing scheme, 21% of profits were paid out to staff. Cumulative profits paid out by Signature over the last five years amount to 131% of salary. Signature’s structure sees ownership held more widely than the traditional equity partnership towards a co-operative model.

However, this year’s profit pay-out is significantly lower than last year, when members of the firm received a 34% share. The firm said that increased investment in partners and the launch of a local operation in Gibraltar explained the lower figure. The firm’s growth has also slowed on 2015/16 when Signature hiked income by 36% to just over £10.2m.

Signature chief executive Kevin Munslow commented: ‘The firm continues to grow consistently year-on-year, and we take pride in having a system which returns the value of our success to every employee in the firm without the intervention of any discretionary element.’

Signature has seen its headcount expand over the last year, with the number of fee-earners now standing at 50. Senior additions over the period include Ioannis Alexopoulos from Bryan Cave, Simon Bushell from Latham & Watkins and Josh Wong from DLA Piper.

Signature also worked on a number of headline-grabbing cases over the last 12 months. Among the mandates was the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) group action, in which Signature partner Graham Huntley represented thousands of investors in a £4bn rights issue dispute. Huntley also acted for Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation on a dispute with the Serious Fraud Office focused on legal professional privilege.

Huntley commented: ‘The arrival of four new heavyweight partners has further strengthened our core practices and international capabilities, and also fortified the foundation of partners who share the commitment to the firm’s values and non-discretionary economic ownership.’

The performance underlines the dramatic ascent of disputes boutiques in recent years in the City legal scene with peers such as Enyo, Stewarts Law and Three Crowns securing a string of big ticket cases. Stewarts one of the top performing players in this year’s LB100, with revenues up 25%.