While headline figures for revenue, profit and headcount in this year’s LB100 confirm another year of subdued trading, a look at how the top 100 UK-based firms by revenue have performed overall since the halcyon, pre-credit crisis days of 2006 makes interesting viewing. Not least as they are testament to the inherent strength of the industry, despite the hurdles it has seemingly faced in ten years. We also look at 2011 as a five-year mid-point, the stage when the global financial crisis had started to ebb. Continue reading “Going long: a ten-year view of the LB100”
Had merger talks earlier this year with Miami-based Global 100 firm, Greenberg Traurig, been successful, Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) would now be part of a £1.1bn firm and a £5m fall in revenue would look like a drop in the ocean. As it is, BLP’s strategy is under scrutiny again with its recent revival looking short-lived.
Revenue fell 2% at BLP in 2015/16 to £254m, while profit per equity partner (PEP) was more positive with 4% growth to £687,000. This is in sharp contrast to the rapid growth of the previous financial year, when revenue rose 5% to hit a record £259m and PEP surged 22% to £661,000. Continue reading “Case study: Berwin Leighton Paisner”
By some margin the strongest-performing Magic Circle firm for the 2015/16 year, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer posted 7% revenue growth from £1.245bn to £1.327bn and an 8% profit per equity partner (PEP) hike to £1.47m from £1.37m.
This performance is particularly impressive after a year of investment. The firm pushed hard on the development of its legal services hub in 2015, gaining the lease to its Manchester office in July last year. Rapidly scaled up, Freshfields’ Manchester staff will move into new premises double the size of the current office from early 2017, accommodating legal services staff as well as human resources, IT, marketing and business development, office management, document specialists and change management. Plans are already underway to open a second legal services hub in either the US or Canada to offer a 24-hour service to clients. Continue reading “Case study: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer”
LB100 Focus: Don’t look back in anger: Ashurst leadership tries to rally partners but the drift continues
Five years on from its controversial Australian combination – and after a punishing 2015/16 – the storied City firm is still far from finding the form it needs in a competitive global market
‘We had known that the firm had been struggling for a while but we didn’t know, and certainly weren’t expecting, a 20% decrease to our [profit per equity partner] PEP,’ a recent Ashurst leaver tells Legal Business.
In this table we blend together the three key profitability metrics, PEP, profit per lawyer and profit margin, to discover which of the top 100 firms are the most profitable. The firms have been ranked according to their aggregate score across all three measurements.
LB100 LAW FIRMS
The firms that appear in the Legal Business 100 (LB100) are the top 100 law firms in the UK, ranked by gross fee income generated over the financial year 2015/16 – usually 1 May 2015 to 30 April 2016. We call these the 2016 results. Where firms have identical fee incomes, the firms are ranked according to highest profit per equity partner (PEP).
The standout performer from this year’s second 25 is once again Mishcon de Reya which, along with Macfarlanes, has been the pace setter in this peer group over the last five years. The firm has come a long way since it first made its debut into the top 50 four years ago in 2012. Over five years, revenue has climbed more than 100% from £65m.
Mishcon revealed robust profits for the 2015/16 financial year, with profit per equity partner (PEP) up 11% to £1m as global revenue grew to £132.7m from £116.7m, an increase of 14%. The firm did, however, this year downsize its Manhattan practice to focus on IP. As such, New York revenue came in at £4.8m, a considerable drop given the business in recent years generated upwards of £13m.