Profit per equity partner (PEP) jumped substantially by 18% up from $1.84m to $2.17m. Lawyer headcount remained stable with an increase of six to 840. London’s lawyer headcount increased by five to 187 as City revenue was up by 14% increase to $169.7m.
The results will ease concerns over last year’s mixed financials where Shearman posted a 2% rise in revenues which reached $860m, but PEP partner dropped 4% from $1.9m to $1.84m.
In the second half of last year Shearman agreed to cut its equity partnership and saw a series of departures, including private equity head Mark Soundy, who left in October along with UK tax head Sarah Priestley. Shearman’s European grouping, led by project finance partner Nick Buckworth, did not hire any new partners in Europe in 2016.
Buckworth (pictured) told Legal Business: ‘We’ve had a much, much tighter view of our strategy, we’ve had strong leadership and as a result, just by being disciplined, you can see the results coming through. This is a firm that is very much on the up and we’re starting to really motor.’
When asked whether he expects more hires to be made in 2017, Buckworth added: ‘Scale is irrelevant. What we’re looking for is a growth that enhances Shearman & Sterling as a choice globally. Predominantly our growth will come from within, we have great talent here, and we’re always going to look at growth laterally in areas where we don’t necessarily have the internal, home-grown resource or in areas where we want to move the business.’
Meanwhile, Sidley Austin has posted a small revenue boost to $1.93bn, up around 3% on 2015. Profit per equity partner also crept up 3% to $2.13m while the firm saw a small increase in headcount to 1,836 from 1,779 and the total number of equity partners grew by four to 346.
The firm has made additional drives for European bench strength since the turn of the year, including an eight partner hire in Munich to significantly reinforce its European private equity offering.