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‘We’ll continue to look for talent’: Sidley’s London growth streak continues with double-digit revenue hike

Sidley Austin has continued its decade-long streak of growth in London, posting a 12.4% hike to reach $209.7m, with firmwide revenues reaching the $3bn mark.

While global revenues grew 6.1% on last year, with profit per equity partner (PEP) up 10.3% to $4.6m, the Chicago-headquartered firm’s London office stood out with another year of double-digit growth.

Sidley has enjoyed a long streak of revenue increases after making a strategic decision in the mid-2010s, to increase its focus on the private capital sector, a move which has continued to pay dividends.

London managing partner Tom Thesing said: ‘We’ve now exceeded 10 consecutive years in revenue growth for the London office, which is encouraging because it shows our steady and sustainable track of serving the firm’s clients on a repeat basis.’ 

Despite a turbulent transactional market in London, Thesing emphasised the firm’s strong performance across various areas including M&A, private equity, restructuring, disputes, litigation, investigations, regulatory and competition. ‘It’s a good sign: the breadth of our diversified platform enabled us to hit double-digit growth in London.’ 

Earlier this year, London-based PE partners Paul Dunbar and Jonathon Hamill advised alternative investment firm Stonepeak on its agreement with UK roadside assistance service AA, along with AA’s majority shareholders, TowerBrook Capital Partners and Warburg Pincus. 

Meanwhile, London restructuring co-head Mark Knight led a team advising global retailer Coupang on its $500m rescue acquisition of luxury retailer Farfetch, facilitated through an English pre-pack administration process, alongside US colleagues.

Sidley’s City office now has 209 lawyers, a slight dip from last year when it stood at 219 lawyers. Thesing pointed to notable recent hires including former Paul Weiss corporate duo Ramy Wahbeh and Kaisa Kuusk in June. In March of last year, James MacArthur and Ed Freeman moved from Weil, with MacArthur now leading Sidley’s European energy, transportation, and infrastructure practice. 

‘We’re very focused on continuing to build our private equity and corporate practice here in London. We’re pleased with the direction of travel for the firm following a number of senior lateral hires last year.’ 

In the most recent round of partner promotions in London, the firm promoted two partners: Sarah Lainchbury (disputes) and Jonathon Hammill (private equity).  

However, just last week, the firm saw private equity partner Fatema Orjela depart for to McDermott Will & Emery after eight years, while departures last year included investment funds head James Oussedik to Proskauer and fellow funds partner Mateja Maher to Latham & Watkins.

While those exits have inevitably raised some questions about Sidley’s plans for London, Thesing is bullish on future prospects, highlighting the firm’s robust growth and ongoing commitment to recruit talent. ‘We have demonstrated really strong growth in our business year after year. It reflects that we are executing on our strategy in a way that we’re very pleased with and how that’s coming together. We will continue to execute on that.’ 

‘As markets are disrupted and the London legal market has been to an extent, we’ll continue to look for talent in the market and grow our business,’ he continues. ‘Even in the choppier market, we had a disproportionate share of the private equity and M&A business, which also contributed to our growth. It reflects the ambition we have to continue to build our first-class London office around our global strategy.’