Legal Business Blogs

Slower growth at Signature Litigation but staff see increased profit share

Disputes-only outfit Signature Litigation has marked its tenth year since inception with a marginal rise in revenues, inching upwards 1.5% from £27.4m to £27.8m.

Staff had cause for cheer, however, as they were paid an increased annual profit share of 18.7% in line with Signature’s co-operative model. Last year, when revenues grew by 22%, the profit share payout amounted to 17.6%.

Founding partner Graham Huntley (pictured) told Legal Business: ‘When we opened the firm ten years ago, it was very “in” at the time to aim for specific amounts in terms of revenue and PEP. But the impact this had on all the people who made that happen was hardly thought about. Things have changed, meaning that when firms are doing well some tend to make voluntarily payments, but for us sharing profits is automatic. We’re happy about that because it’s stable and doesn’t depend on discretion.’

Despite the muted growth this year, on a ten-year basis, revenues are up 477% from the £4.82m Signature recorded after its first year of trading in 2013.

Chief executive Kevin Munslow said: ‘A decade after launch, Signature has achieved our goal of steady growth and becoming established as a serious player in the high-value disputes arena. We now have a team of more than 70 professionals worldwide and over 30 other members. Our offices in London, Paris and Gibraltar all report robust financial results, maintaining our long-term goal of managed year-on-year growth.

‘We remain ever-more committed to building an environment that delivers on the aspirations of every member of the firm and a culture where the fruits of success are shared with all our members without discretion or variation.’

Work highlights from the past year include the ongoing defence of Cellcom against a claim that it is vicariously liable for the alleged actions of a former director of its subsidiary. Partner Paul Brehony, counsel Kate Gee and associate Olivier Swain make up the team on that matter.

This week Signature also welcomed a new partner in the form of Tsegaye Laurendeau, who was previously at arbitration boutique Gaillard Banifatemi Shelbaya Disputes. With more than a decade of arbitration experience under a variety of rules, Laurendeau typically advises corporates, states and state-owned entities in both commercial and investment treaty arbitration. He has a particular focus on the oil and gas, energy, mining, construction and telecoms industries.

Laurendeau said: ‘Signature’s track record in complex corporate disputes speaks for itself. I very much look forward to building on that with my new colleagues across our three offices, including with our arbitration team in Paris, to bolster our international arbitration offering to clients.’