LB100 Osborne Clarke: From South West to West Coast

Twenty years ago, Osborne Clarke (OC) had revenues of £11.4m and an average PEP of £97,000. It was a Bristol firm with a very small London office and the origins of an international alliance.

‘Lots of firms have overtaken us,’ says the current managing partner Simon Beswick, ‘but really OC was the first regional firm to come into London and the first regional firm to go into Europe, doing both of those in 1987.’

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LB100 Allen & Overy: Turnover Soars With Globalisation

Allen & Overy’s worldwide senior partner David Morley remembers doing his first deal for Goldman Sachs as a young partner in the banking group in 1992.

This was a time when the fact that an American investment bank was in London was still big news: the arrival of the US financial institutions, which began at the end of the eighties, shook up the City.

‘I remember a UK corporate client being asked about the difference that Goldman had made in London,’ recalls Morley. ‘He said he used to ring up his merchant bank about a deal and they said they’d come round tomorrow to talk to him. When he rang Goldman, they said they’d be round in half an hour, and they ran.’

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LB 100 Retrospective – All Grown Up

The LB100 survey is now in its 20th year – what does the data reveal about how the market has changed?

When LB first published the gross fees of the UK’s biggest firms in 1992, it was met with consternation and horror by some partners. ‘It is one thing for the Americans and accountants to get into this sort of thing, but not lawyers,’ one managing partner told us at the time. ‘I don’t think you will get any of the City firms to talk about this sort of thing.’

Another managing partner declared: ‘Anyone who gives you this information will be booted out of the partnership.’

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LB100 2012 – Future Proof

From merger mania to profit manipulation – the LB100 in 2012 draws on familiar themes from 20 years of law firm financials.

If there’s one thing the last 20 years have taught us at LB, it’s that the legal profession carries on regardless. The UK may have entered into a  double-dip recession despite quantitative easing; the US and a number of European countries may have seen their credit ratings downgraded; M&A may have dried up and the global debt markets may be in stasis, but the UK’s top 100 law firms continue to post record growth and trend-busting profits. The industry has again showed its remarkable resilience and stability.

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LB100 2012 – Behind the Numbers: Profitability Revealed

Which firms are the most profitable? In this table we blend together all of our profitability measures, including PEP, profit per lawyer and profit margin, to discover which of the top 100 firms are the most profitable.

The 100 firms have been ranked according to their mean rank on all three measurements.

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Global 100 – Dewey & LeBoeuf – Lessons from a downfall

Dewey & LeBoeuf went from 26th in last year’s Global 100 to filing for bankruptcy in May this year. What can the Global 100 learn from the firm’s demise? 

Finley, Kumble, Wagner, Underberg, Manley, Myerson & Casey; Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison; Heller Ehrman; and Howrey, the US legal market has quite a track record when it comes to large law firm failures.

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Global 100 – Global Elite – Hollow victory

The Global Elite continues to dominate the international legal market. But with ailing global markets and little to no M&A, not every firm has much to celebrate

Europe is in crisis, the UK has hit a double dip recession and US markets continue to fluctuate. Likewise the debt markets are closed, M&A sits on ice and big-ticket litigation is few and far between. But the Global Elite retains its dominant position. The world’s behemoths remain relatively unscathed by the knock-on effect of ailing global economic and financial markets.

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Wealth management – Filling big shoes

The global diversification of wealth continues to drive the efforts of law firms’ private client teams as the world’s population of affluent individuals continues to climb. LB tracks the latest developments.

The international private client teams at major law firms are thriving. The practice area, for decades regarded as the black sheep of the family, has now been warmly accepted into the fold. In some cases private client has become more than a much-loved practice area.

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