Legal Business

‘Inevitable distractions’ hit BCLP revenue and profit in lean post-merger debut

‘Inevitable distractions’ hit BCLP revenue and profit in lean post-merger debut

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) endured a challenging debut year as a fully-merged entity, as the cost of integration weighed on growth.

Turnover was down 2% to $874.1m from the $899.4m the firm posted for 2018, the year legacy Berwin Leighton Paisner and Bryan Cave finalised their transatlantic union. Net income was also down almost 4% to $228m.

‘It’s relevant to put it in the context of the first 21 months since the merger,’ BCLP co-chair Lisa Mayhew (pictured) told Legal Business. ‘At the end of 2018 we saw a 5% profit boost and a 1% increase in revenue and that was impressive. Inevitably when you integrate two large firms there’s a distraction element, there’s inevitably a bit of a cost to that integration. But I’d take that 5% increase in profit and a slight dip in revenue.’

Profit per equity partner (PEP), however, also saw a modest falls, edging down 1% to $833,000 from $844,000 over 2019 while revenue per lawyer was likewise down, dropping 2% to $621,000 from $631,000. Lawyer headcount at the firm, meanwhile, remained largely stable, dropping a 2% to 1,399. The decline in PEP comes despite an almost 3% fall in the number of equity partners, but, more positively, the Anglo American firm recorded a net positive cash balance of $86m.

Last summer, Mayhew was elected to serve another four years as co-head of the firm, while St Louis transactional partner Steven Baumer was elected to succeed Therese Pritchard after she became ineligible to serve another stint. Later in December, St Louis and London evenly shared the spoils of a 17-strong global promotion round. The firm has also recently engaged with management consultancy McKinsey as the firm undertakes a strategic review.

Despite the subdued financials, BCLP started 2020 with a splash, recruiting a 21-strong team of lawyers in Paris, including seven partners, with more having joined since. The move was the firm’s largest addition since its merger went live, though further expansion on the continent in 2020 is not expected, with the firm currently having 31 offices across the globe.

Despite the increasing global uncertainty, Mayhew remained sanguine about 2020: ‘We are going to be served well by the fact we’re four months into a strategy exercise with McKinsey. We have intellectual momentum behind us so we will continue to be a bit ahead on that side.’

thomas.alan@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

‘Our first big move’: Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner gets Paris play over the line

‘Our first big move’: Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner gets Paris play over the line

Real estate leader taps Franklin for eight partners with more to come in France

‘It’s great to get to the moment where our first big move has happened.’
Lisa Mayhew, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

Since the 2018 tie-up between Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) and Bryan Cave, the merged entity of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) has experienced a period of relative calm. But while the last 18 months have been defined by neither convulsion nor dramatic moves, the firm’s recent play in Paris could mark a new phase in BCLP’s post-merger ambitions.

Legal Business

Continental growth ‘high on the agenda’: BCLP bolsters Paris outpost with seven-partner splash

Continental growth ‘high on the agenda’: BCLP bolsters Paris outpost with seven-partner splash

Starting the New Year with a bang, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) has recruited a 21-strong team of lawyers in Paris, including seven partners.

The hires mark the largest addition to the firm since its transatlantic merger in 2018, with expansion on the continent high on the agenda for the firm’s leadership. Two partners have joined in the Paris offices’ real estate, taxation and financing teams respectively, while one partner was added in public law.

‘[Legacy] BLP (Berwin Leighton Paisner) didn’t have an office in Paris, but clients would still turn to us to do transactional work,’ BCLP co-chair Lisa Mayhew told Legal Business. ‘It was a hole in our capability and we would have to turn to other firms to do work in Paris, so it’s something we’ve been strategizing for a long time. Bryan Cave did have a good but small Paris office, so it’s also an opportunity to add to that capability.’

Real estate duo Henry Ranchon and Laurent Schittenhelm will be joined by taxation partners Christine Daric and Olivier Mesmin. Meanwhile, in financing the firm adds David Blondel and Olivier Borenstejn. Jean-Pierre Delvigne joins the firm’s public law practice, with all the partners joining from French independent firm Franklin.

The additions increase BCLP’s Paris headcount to 37, more than doubling the firm’s presence. Paris – which will remain led by managing partner Rémy Blain – will now be third only to London and Germany in Europe in terms of size, despite BCLP losing 10 lawyers to Addleshaw Goddard in Hamburg last year. In December, the firm also lost partners in London, with DLA Piper recruiting Bob Maynard and Caroline Pope to its litigation and regulatory practice in the City.

Meanwhile, Mayhew insists further growth on the continent is likely: ‘We definitely want to grow in Germany, we already have over 60 lawyers there so it is bigger than France. We want to grow in part in our corporate and finance practices, as we already have a huge real estate bench in Berlin. So that is definitely high on the growth agenda, but there has to be a strategic reason.’

However, no offices on the continent featured in the firm’s latest promotion round, with the legacy firms’ respective hubs receiving the lion’s share of new partners. Of the 17 partners promoted globally, five were minted in London, matching the St Louis figure, while the remaining 12 partners spanned Kansas, Atlanta, Washington, Denver and Los Angeles. All but one of the City promotions were made to the firm’s traditionally strong real estate practice.

thomas.alan@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Life During Law: Segun Osuntokun

Life During Law: Segun Osuntokun

I was born in Nigeria as one of five children. My parents were medical doctors. My father was one of Nigeria’s pre-eminent neurologists, and quickly became globally renowned. A typical aspirational father, he built himself up through effort and excellence and thought all his children should be equally excellent. By the age of 15 I was sent to a boarding school in England to do my A levels. After that I did an economics degree at Queen Mary London.

I went back to Nigeria and did national service. Not as exciting as it sounds, more community service than military service. Did that for a year and part of it was working in a bank. It was not for me.

Legal Business

The City and St Louis share the spoils of 17-strong BCLP global promotion round

The City and St Louis share the spoils of 17-strong BCLP global promotion round

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) has promoted five partners in London, the same number as in St Louis, in its second promotion round since becoming a merged entity last year.

The firm promoted 17 globally, six fewer than last year, although London saw an increased investment on the three promoted in 2018.

The round was also strong for female representation, with women making up 60% of the new partner cohort. The promotions spanned London, St Louis, Kansas, Atlanta, Washington, Denver and Los Angeles.

The promotions in the City will be a boon to legacy BLP’s traditionally strong real estate practice, with all but one of the new partners a lawyer in the sector. The new City partners are: Ciarán Londra (real estate); Giles Pink (real estate); Matthew Pomfret (commercial real estate); Payam Yoseflavi (real estate finance); and Claire Morel de Westgaver (arbitration). Last year the City promotions spanned the corporate, contentious construction and asset finance practices.

St Louis – the firm’s largest US office – received an additional partner on last year, across a wider range of practice groups. Kansas and Atlanta saw two additional partners while Washington, Denver and Los Angeles received one apiece. The firm now counts 561 partners across the globe with 1,400 in total across 31 offices.

However, last week BCLP lost partners in the City, with DLA Piper recruiting Bob Maynard and Caroline Pope to its litigation and regulatory practice in London. Meanwhile over the summer, co-chair Lisa Mayhew was elected to serve another four years in the role, while Therese Pritchard was ineligible to serve another term and is to be succeeded by St Louis transactional partner Steven Baumer.

The promotions will be effective as of 1 January 2020.

thomas.alan@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Akin Gump hires Orrick private equity player as Kirkland revisits Linklaters for tax lateral

Revolving doors: Akin Gump hires Orrick private equity player as Kirkland revisits Linklaters for tax lateral

City and US rivals in London have been continuing to ramp up lateral recruitment with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld adding its third private equity partner in the space of a month, Kirkland & Ellis hiring a tax partner from Linklaters and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) strengthening its employment bench.

Akin Gump hired private equity partner Weyinmi Popo from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe only a month after adding Shaun Lascelles and Simon Rootsey to the bench from Vinson & Elkins in late September.

Popo advises UK and international sponsor and investor clients as well as family offices on private equity, M&A, infrastructure and energy transactions, with an emphasis on Africa. He will start at his new firm later this month.

Akin Gump’s chairperson Kim Koopersmith (pictured) told Legal Business: ‘London is clearly a market we’re focused on for growth, and you’ve seen us welcome a lot of great talent there recently. Much of that growth has been around the private equity space, which complements our other strengths very well and where we’ve identified a number of opportunities. Weyinmi’s practice and skillset fits in perfectly with that strategy. That, coupled with his focus on Africa, where we are seeing tremendous client interest, will make him a great fit.’

Meanwhile, Kirkland has returned to Linklaters to hire tax partner Mavnick Nerwal. He follows in the footsteps of fellow tax partner Tim Lowe who made the move from the Magic Circle firm to the Chicago-bred powerhouse in 2016.

Nerwal has experience in advising financial sponsors, including private equity and investment funds, corporates and financial institutions.

Meanwhile, BCLP has hired Adam Lambert as partner in the employment and labor group. Lambert joined the London office from Kingsley Napley where he focused on employment disputes and global transactions, advising across sectors including asset management, professional services, publishing, manufacturing and hospitality.

Partner and co-leader of the employment and labor team Rebecca Harding-Hill, told Legal Business: ‘Adam particularly fits in with us because of his global reach. He’s got a broad client base which covers financial services, professional services, publishing and hospitality. We have a lot of clients in financial services, so it broadens that out.’

Elsewhere, Clyde & Co has appointed Stefanie Johnston as partner in its global marine and insurance team in Glasgow.

Johnston joins from Keoghs where she helped to establish the firm’s Scottish presence. She will establish and build the firm’s marine offering in Scotland and will work closely with marine colleagues in the UK and globally.

Managing partner at Clyde & Co in Scotland, David Tait told Legal Business: ‘Stephanie has been a marine practitioner for a number of years. She has had clients follow her from firm to firm and it is hoped that when she comes to work for us, that those clients will continue to follow her and that she will grow the practice and build on the many years of experience she has in marine law.

‘We’ve got a significant marine practice in London and if they have any clients that require assistance on Scottish matters, we’ve got Stephanie here who can help them with that,’ added Tait.

Finally, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton London corporate finance partner Andrew Shutter has left the firm after 22 years. Shutter joined the firm in 1997 and advised on a range of debt matters, including being an adviser for Greece’s public debt management agency regarding Greece’s debt negotiations in 2015.

muna.abdi@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Mayhew secures new four-year term at BCLP with Pritchard ineligible to run again

Mayhew secures new four-year term at BCLP with Pritchard ineligible to run again

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) co-chair Lisa Mayhew has been elected to serve another four years in the role. Meanwhile, current co-chair Therese Pritchard was ineligible to serve another term and is to be succeeded by St Louis transactional partner Steven Baumer.

The terms for Mayhew and Baumer begin 1 January 2020 and will run four years, with Pritchard set to return to her practice after not being eligible to seek another term. Both Mayhew and Pritchard had led their legacy firms going into the transatlantic merger to create BCLP, which was completed 3 April 2018.

However, terms of governance at the firm mean that upon reaching the age of 65, a partner is ineligible to run for senior management, meaning Pritchard was unable to seek an extension to her existing term.

Mayhew (pictured) was first elected managing partner of legacy Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) in 2015, succeeding former managing partner and later senior partner Neville Eisenberg and beating the firm’s former corporate chief David Collins. The firm would not comment on whether Mayhew was contested by any other candidates  in the recent election.

Meanwhile, incoming co-chair Baumer first joined legacy Bryan Cave in 1996, before going on to spearhead the firm’s global transactional practice. Commenting on her re-election, Mayhew told Legal Business: ‘In voting for me and Steve, the partnership is supporting the global strategy at the firm. There is a tone of collaboration here which means we’re all in this boat together.’

While the merger saw the combined entity edge into the top global top 50 in terms of revenue, LLP accounts from January of this year showed that legacy BLP was enduring a financial malaise before the merger, being hit with a 21% drop in profit and a 3% decline in revenue in the last full financial year before the union.

thomas.alan@legalbusiness.co.uk

For more on the leadership of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, read ‘Eyes on “the prize” – BCLP’s leaders on going all-in for transatlantic union’

Legal Business

Addleshaws enters continental Europe through BCLP Hamburg hires

Addleshaws enters continental Europe through BCLP Hamburg hires

Despite having launched five international offices in Asia and the Middle East since 2012, top-20 UK law firm Addleshaw Goddard had no presence in continental Europe until last month. That was when it announced the hire of five partners from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) to spearhead a launch in Hamburg.

The hires include the two founders of legacy Bryan Cave’s German offices in 2007, Eckart Budelmann and Michael Leue. Partners Martin Lüderitz, Maximilian Karacz and Hubertus Schröder joined the duo in the move from BCLP, alongside five other lawyers.

Legal Business

Pinsents, Bird & Bird, BCLP and Network Rail the big winners at the 2019 Legal Business Awards

Pinsents, Bird & Bird, BCLP and Network Rail the big winners at the 2019 Legal Business Awards

Pinsent Masons, Bird & Bird, Network Rail and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) were among the major winners at the 2019 Legal Business Awards in front of more than 1,000 guests last night (28 March).

Hosted by comedian, writer and actress Meera Syal, the evening saw Pinsent Masons crowned Law Firm of the Year for a second time, with judges impressed by the firm’s performance in areas such as client satisfaction, CSR and innovation in addition to financial results.

Meanwhile, alongside BCLP and Heathrow Airport, Pinsents jointly won Energy and Infrastructure Team of the Year as the trio worked together to address the challenge of Heathrow’s proposed expansion. BCLP also picked up another accolade, winning Private Client Team of the Year.

Bird & Bird also won two awards on the night, named TMT Team of the Year in the first award of the evening before being named Legal Technology Team of the Year later on.

Network Rail was the standout in-house performer, a joint winner in the Real Estate Team of the Year category alongside its external advisers Clifford Chance and Eversheds Sutherland for its work on Project Condor, while also being named In-House Team of the Year. Collaboration was evident among a growing number of nominees, with Simmons & Simmons and Travers Smith jointly awarded Commercial Litigation Team of the Year.

Elsewhere, Kirkland & Ellis continues its blistering recent performance, winning the prestigious Private Equity Team of the Year award for a successive year, as well as being Highly Commended in the Law Firm of the Year category. It was a strong year again for US firms in London, with Davis Polk & Wardwell winning Finance Team of the Year, Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom securing Competition Team of the Year, King & Spalding International Arbitration Team of the Year and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher named Corporate Team of the Year.

Individuals recognised on the night included Richard Miskella of Lewis Silkin, who won the Lawyer of the Year award for his work on  #MeToo-related investigations for The Old Vic and subsequent pro bono work in this area. Nick Thomas of Kennedys was named our Management Partner of the Year for his long and successful run as senior partner, while Frances Coats of The Ardonagh Group was named Rising Star In-House Counsel of the Year.

The debut Chambers of the Year award went to 3 Verulam Buildings, after reversing its fortunes to produce a robust performance in recent years.

Thanks go to our external judging panel of prominent general counsel who selected the winners: Nigel Paterson, GC and company secretary, Dixons Carphone; Anna Cosgrave, head of legal, Graze; Ruwan De Soyza, GC, Worldpay; Rushad Abadan, GC, Standard Life Aberdeen; Charlotte Heiss, group chief legal officer and company secretary, RSA; Neil Murrin, GC and director – regulatory affairs, Trainline; Richard Price, GC and company secretary, Anglo-American; Angus McBride, GC, News UK; Geoffrey Timms, GC and company secretary, Legal & General; Kirsty Cooper, GC and company secretary, Aviva; Dan Guildford, GC, The Financial Times; Nayeem Syed, assistant GC, Refinitiv; Liz Tanner, director of legal services, SSE; Elisabeth Messud, group legal director, Kingfisher; Joanne Jolly, GC and company secretary – Insurance and Wealth, Lloyds Banking Group; and Jeremy Barton, GC, KPMG UK.

Our May edition will include a full report of the night. For more details on the winners and the awards in general click, here.

thomas.alan@legalbusiness.co.uk

 

Legal Business Awards 2019 – The Winners

Bird & Bird – TMT Team of the Year

Davis Polk & Wardwell – Finance Team of the Year

King & Spalding – International Arbitration Team of the Year

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer – Restructuring Team of the Year

Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom – Competition Team of the Year

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner/Heathrow Airport/Pinsent Masons – Energy and Infrastructure Team of the Year

Simmons & Simmons/Travers Smith – Commercial Litigation Team of the Year

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner – Private Client Team of the Year

Hebert Smith Freehills – Insurance Team of the Year

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher – Corporate Team of the Year

Kirkland & Ellis – Private Equity Team of the Year

Clifford Chance/Eversheds Sutherland/Network Rail – Real Estate Team of the Year

Northridge Law – Boutique Law Firm of the Year

Richard Miskella – Lawyer of the Year

Hogan Lovells – CSR Programme of the Year

A&L Goodbody – International Firm of the Year

Frances Coats, The Ardonagh Group – Rising Star In-House Counsel of the Year

Network Rail – In-House Team of the Year

Nick Thomas – Management Partner of the Year

White & Case – US Law Firm of the Year

Lucy Vernall, Funding Circle – GC of the Year

3 Verulam Buildings – Chambers of the Year

Bird & Bird – Technology Team of the Year

Ogier – Regional/Offshore Firm of the Year

 

Legal Business

Post-merger chemistry and an absence of crisis mark BCLP launch but firm is yet to settle into its stride

Post-merger chemistry and an absence of crisis mark BCLP launch but firm is yet to settle into its stride

Thomas Alan finds mixed omens in the wake of BCLP’s high-stakes union. A solid start cannot obscure that 2019 will be a crucial period for the Anglo-American challenger

When indications of a merger between legacy firms Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) and Bryan Cave first emerged in late 2017, there were mixed reactions about the potential union. As Legal Business noted last summer: ‘Confirmation earlier this year that BLP was uniting with a solid US operator, but one whose brand had limited potency in Europe, did not quicken the pulse.’