Legal Business

‘Stable and consolidated’: Clydes posts steady revenue growth but profit hit after year of investment

‘Stable and consolidated’: Clydes posts steady revenue growth but profit hit after year of investment

Clyde & Co has notched up its 22nd consecutive year of revenue growth, the firm’s latest financial results show, albeit with a slower turnover increase than the previous financial year and a modest dip in profit following internal investments. 

Firmwide revenues were up 3% from £611m to £627m in 2019/20, a decrease on last year’s pacier 11% growth rate. Despite the reliable revenue growth, profit at the firm fell 5% to £143m ‘due to increased investment,’ while profit per equity partner (PEP) likewise dipped 4% to £665,000 

‘I’m really pleased, we’ve produced solid numbers after a period of consolidation,’ senior partner Peter Hirst (pictured) told Legal Business.I was elected on a manifesto of consolidation and investment and we’ve done just that. We had a remarkable period of growth, but we needed our infrastructure to keep up with us.  

We were not long ago what I would call a challenger firm, but I really wanted to invest in IT and infrastructure to match where we are now as an established firm. When I was elected, I said to partners: “We need to invest, there will be a drop in profits, but it has to happen.

The firm also continued its ambition to generate the lion’s share of its revenue outside the UK, with 53% of turnover produced overseas. North America’s material output stood at 22%, while the Middle East and Africa contributed 13% and the Asia Pacific 12%. Europe and Latin America accounted for 4% and 2% respectively.  

Due to the firm’s geographic spread, the economic impact of Covid-19 has been a persistent disruption. Said Hirst: ‘In January and February, from actions in our Asia offices we knew it was big and it was serious. We acted for clients throughout SARS and MERS so we had a bit of a playbook for Covid, but no one anticipated what it would become. But our clients fled to us in their moment of need.’

In recent years Clydes has garnered a reputation as one of the industry’s more upwardly-mobile firms, in no small part due to its steady and consistent management. However, the firm received a jolt last year when senior partner Simon Konsta abruptly stood down. Hirst was later confirmed as his replacement, while Clydes also appointed Matthew Kelsall as chief executive officer and Dame Inga Beale and Stephen Chipman as non-executive directors.

Hirst has now been in the role a year, and is preparing the firm for a tricky 12 months ahead: We’re planning for the worst and hoping for the best. We have to plan for the worst in some areas. Real estate is the case in point; but we’ve actually seen an uptick in some real estate work. You cannot be lazy and just say it will impact real estate and aviation and things like that. Being sectorbased and global makes us better placed than most. We’re stable and consolidated.’
thomas.alan@legalbusiness.co.uk 

Legal Business

Sponsored briefing: Settlement facilitation or how to cut short an arbitration and save time and costs

Sponsored briefing: Settlement facilitation or how to cut short an arbitration and save time and costs

Nadia Darwazeh and Dr Henning Schaloske look at the benefits of settlement facilitation

As in-house counsel overseeing disputes, one of the key questions is always: how do I resolve the dispute as quickly and cost-efficiently as possible? Whereas 30 years ago arbitration, with its flexible procedure, was held up as quicker and shorter than going to court, that is not always the case today. The principal reason for this change is that arbitration has become more complex and sometimes more akin to court proceedings. To ensure the continued attractiveness of international arbitration, arbitral institutions, practitioners and in-house counsel alike have carefully considered over the years how to make it more time and cost efficient. One of the first attempts to identify cost and time-saving measures was the ICC Arbitration Commission Report on Techniques for Controlling Time and Costs in Arbitration in 2007. Since then, most if not all major international arbitral rules have been revised to put in place mechanisms, such as the appointment of a sole arbitrator for smaller disputes, expedited and emergency arbitrator proceedings, to ensure that arbitrations are faster and cheaper.

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Ashurst appoints planning co-head as Eversheds bolsters its City commercial practice

Revolving doors: Ashurst appoints planning co-head as Eversheds bolsters its City commercial practice

In a slower week than usual for City laterals, Ashurst appointed a co-head of its planning team as Eversheds Sutherland made hires in London and Hong Kong and Clyde & Co lost a partner in Edinburgh.

Ashurst hired real estate partner Claire Dutch as co-head of the firm’s planning team in London. She joined from Hogan Lovells where she was head of the planning team, focusing on planning law, highway law and heritage law. Dutch also has experience in managing major regeneration projects, including energy and waste projects.

Meanwhile, Eversheds hired partner Simon Lightman to its commercial practice from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in London.

Lightman has experience in commercial, technology and data transactions with a focus on restructuring and renegotiation of legacy outsourcing arrangements as well as outsourcing deals and procurements. He has acted for customers and suppliers in the financial services sector as well as retail, telecommunications and aviation.

Eversheds also appointed Shepherd and Wedderburn’s banking and finance litigation head to its Edinburgh office.

Frood advises on personal injury, professional negligence, fraud and contentious trust. He has worked with retail banks, building societies and major clearing banks as well as with funders, insurers, auditors and advisers.

These appointments follow a number of recent lateral hires in the litigation & disputes practice including litigation partner Mark Hughes in Hong Kong in October, commercial dispute resolution partner Claire Stockford in London in July and real estate litigation partner Tekla Fellas in London in March.

Partner and head of the technology group Simon Gamlin told Legal Business: ‘We’ve been looking to grow our technology practice particularly in London for the last 18 months. Simon’s practice covers general commercial and technology transactions and that includes traditional IT outsourcing arrangements but also newer more disruptive technologies.

‘We have a steady flow of work in the financial services sector which Simon has expertise in, particularly in banking but he also offers opportunities across a range of other sectors particularly retail and telecoms,’ added Gamlin.

Partner and head of real estate dispute resolution, North at Eversheds Damian Hyndman told Legal Business: ‘Alastair provides us with a great opportunity to consolidate and expand our litigation offering in Scotland. He shares our drive and ambition. He is a talented all round litigator with a particular reputation for banking, finance and insolvency litigation, which complements our existing senior team well. He has demonstrated an ability to successfully grow teams, show strong leadership and he fits in well with the firm’s culture, which is incredibly important. We think his strong personal brand and reputation will help us to grow our global brand in Scotland.’

In another reversal for Clydes, partner Calum Mathieson has left the firm’s Edinburgh office to join Plexus Law. Mathieson acts on complex and large loss employer, public and product liability claims on behalf of insurers and has experience in managing health and safety prosecutions on behalf of corporate insurers.

Mathieson told Legal Business: ‘Plexus is a forward thinking, progressive firm. I’m here to concentrate on developing some of the relationships I already have with a number of insurers.’

‘Partners from Kennedy’s moved across this year and I’ll be working with them in terms of developing the good connections Plexus already has, particularly in the London market,’ added Mathieson.

Elsewhere, DLA Piper added Stephen Wong to its litigation and regulatory practice in Hong Kong. Wong joined the firm from Stevenson, Wong & Co where he was a partner since 2015. Wong has experience in regulation and corporate matters, particularly in regulatory and criminal investigations in connections with commercial crimes.

Head of DLA’s litigation and regulatory practice in Asia Kevin Chan commented: ‘Stephen’s hire is part of our continued investment in the regulatory space in Asia. Our clients increasingly require solutions which help them meet their compliance obligations, as well as manage risk. Stephen’s skillset and experience will be a valuable asset to our team, and will enable us to deepen our relationships with existing and new clients.’

Finally, Paul Hastings added capital markets partner Chaobo Fan from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to its Hong Kong office. Fan has a particular focus on securities offerings, mergers and acquisitions and has experience advising Chinese companies on their listings on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Chair of Paul Hastings Seth Zachary commented: ‘We’re meeting our clients’ demand for help with increasingly complex, multi-jurisdictional transactions. The arrival of top talent like Chaobo adds further depth to our capital markets practice in Hong Kong, one of the world’s premier listing markets.’

muna.abdi@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Leadership pivots and partner exits highlight a period of flux for Clydes – what next for the insurance giant?

Leadership pivots and partner exits highlight a period of flux for Clydes – what next for the insurance giant?

Muna Abdi assesses a period of upheaval for one of the UK’s most upwardly-mobile law firms

Sudden moves in the legal industry are generally viewed with suspicion and the resignation of Simon Konsta as Clyde & Co’s senior partner in June, little more than halfway through his five-year term, was no exception. After all, it remains rare for leaders to step down part way into their term.

Legal Business

Revolving doors: City hires aplenty as Goodwin adds Kirkland PE player and Weil makes restructuring lateral

Revolving doors: City hires aplenty as Goodwin adds Kirkland PE player and Weil makes restructuring lateral

Leading US firms have continued to ramp up lateral recruitment in London as Goodwin Procter hired a private equity partner from Kirkland & Ellis and Weil, Gotshal & Manges added to its restructuring bench.

Goodwin hired Kirkland partner Carl Bradshaw to its private equity group. Bradshaw focuses on cross-border private equity deals and has worked on deals including leveraged buyouts, carve-outs, public-to-privates, consortium deals and co-investments.

Goodwin private equity partner Richard Lever told Legal Business: ‘The profile and industry-focus of [Bradshaw’s] client base is entirely consistent with our aim to be the premium mid-market private equity practice in the City operating with clients at the intersection of capital and innovation. We are seeing particular activity in the life sciences, tech – particularly fintech – and business services sectors.’

Meanwhile, Weil added restructuring partner Neil Devaney to its business finance & restructuring practice from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. He has experience in cross-border finance, restructuring and insolvency and advises clients on complex, high-value debt restructurings.

Weil managing partner Mike Francies commented: ‘Neil will work closely with our highly regarded team in London and other senior business finance & restructuring leaders around the world to continue to build out our platform in Europe and globally.’

Elsewhere, Taylor Wessing has hired partner Liz Wilson to its tax and incentives practice in London. She joined from Squire Patton Boggs where she was a director. She has experience working on cross-border tax issues within corporate transactions, private equity, commercial agreements, real estate and construction transactions, projects and debt finance.

Taylor Wessing managing director Shane Gleghorn commented: ‘Liz’s appointment enhances our capability, providing more focus for clients and the taxation issues that need to be considered across all of their deals and investments.’

Ashfords has appointed partner Jocelyn Ormond from Simmons & Simmons to its corporate team in its Bristol office. Ormond has experience in advising private equity, venture capital and other funds, public and private companies on mergers & acquisitions, joint ventures, minority investments and equity fundraisings. He will be leading the firm’s focus on healthcare and developing a digital health practice.

Ashfords partner and head of the technology sector and Bristol office Chris Dyson told Legal Business: ‘We see digital health as being an increasingly important focus in the years to come so adding Jocelyn’s specialism to our team puts us in a great position to support this and the wider healthcare market.’

Clyde & Co, meanwhile, hired Janis Meyer, Anthony Davis and Rick Supple from Hinshaw & Culbertson to form part of Clydes’ law firm liability, regulatory and investigations group in New York. Meyer and Davis advise on legal ethics, risk management while Supple is a trial defence lawyer. Clydes launched in New York in 2006 and the latest expansion follows the hiring of a 90-member insurance and litigation team from Sedgwick in December 2017.

Clydes head of the law firm liability, regulatory and investigations group Richard Harrison commented: ‘As law firms have globalised, so too have their legal needs, which is why adding this well respected US team, whom we know well and have worked with for a number of years, is a significant move for us and is part of our strategy of expanding our global advisory and defence capabilities for law firms.’

Finally, Pinsent Masons has hired real estate partner Denis Charles from DLA Piper to its Paris office. The hire follows that of tax and real estate partner Eglantine Lioret and her team who joined the firm’s Paris office in February this year.

Head of real estate at Pinsents, James Crookes, told Legal Business: ‘The appointment of Denis and Elodie is another important step in the growth of our international real estate sector, as we respond to increasing client demand for an integrated, innovative and consistent approach to real estate legal services across a number of key jurisdictions in Europe – one of which is France.’

muna.abdi@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

Clyde & Co further reshuffles leadership with internal CEO appointment

Clyde & Co further reshuffles leadership with internal CEO appointment

Clyde & Co has completed its management turnover by replacing long-standing chief executive Peter Hasson with chief operating officer Matthew Kelsall.

Kelsall’s (pictured) appointment is effective from 1 January 2020 and comes after the firm elected Peter Hirst its new senior partner, replacing Simon Konsta from November 1. Hirst and the Clydes’ management board led the chief executive recruitment process.

Hasson in July signaled his intention to step down, having served as the firm’s first chief executive from 2005, just a month after Konsta announced he would also give up his leadership role halfway into his five-year term. The firm reported in June its 21st consecutive year of revenue growth to £611m in the year to 30 April, up 11% on £551.3m last year.

Kelsall joined Clydes in 2007 and was previously chief operating officer in North America and was based out of the firm’s New York office. He also served as chief operating officer of the Middle East and North Africa as well as Asia Pacific.

He commented: ‘We have a huge opportunity to further strengthen the market-leading offerings we have built around the world and I look forward to working with the senior partner, the management board and our top class management team to achieve our ambitious goals.’

Hirst added: ‘Matthew’s knowledge and understanding of the organisation, the global legal market and the day-to-day operations of a large and fast-growing global law firm, all make him the outstanding candidate for the CEO position.’

In the past three years, Clydes has grown turnover by 36%, or £160m, fueled by acquisitions and foreign expansion: it has opened offices in Chicago, Washington, Mexico City, Los Angeles, Kuala Lumpur, Auckland, Muscat and Bristol in the last two years.

The firm has, however, had an eventful few months, most notably when it emerged at least five partners from its global marine group were leaving to set up a boutique firm. In July, it suspended two lawyers, including a partner, after alleged breaches of accounting rules.

Hasson commented: ‘I have every confidence that together, Peter and Matthew can take our firm to the next level and I look forward to working with them during the leadership transition and beyond.’

muna.abdi@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Dentons and Akin Gump double up in London as Squire Patton Boggs offsets loss in the City

Revolving doors: Dentons and Akin Gump double up in London as Squire Patton Boggs offsets loss in the City

A busy week for lateral hires saw Dentons, Akin Gump and Squire Patton Boggs each make City hires as DLA Piper turned to Aviva to expand its pensions team.

Dentons said today (30 September) it had hired M&A and private equity partner Paul Doris from the London office of US firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. He is the firm’s third corporate lateral hire in the last 18 months and advises financial sponsors, particularly in energy and infrastructure and in markets including Spain and Latin America.

Dentons’ UK corporate head David Collins (pictured) told Legal Business: ‘Paul’s skillset, sector focus and geographic coverage are all very much aligned to our strategy of building out a diversified corporate transactional practice in the UK which connects with our colleagues across the UK and the Dentons global platform.’

He added: ‘After what felt like a slightly extended summer break and pause in activity after a very busy first half of the year, we are back to high levels of activity across the team.’

Doris follows Dentons announcing last week it had hired restructuring and insolvency partner Richard Pallot-Cook in London. He re-joins from Simmons & Simmons and was previously a partner at Dentons.

Akin Gump, meanwhile, added two partners to its private equity practice, with Shaun Lascelles and Simon Rootsey joining the firm’s London office from Vinson & Elkins.

Partner in charge of Akin Gump’s London office, Sebastian Rice, told Legal Business: ‘We were very impressed with the work they’ve done, culturally they’re a great fit and we hope they will be a strong addition to our corporate team in terms of the clients they advise and the type of work they do.’

Akin Gump also hired finance partner Michael Gustafson to its London office from Pricoa Private Capital, where he was deputy chief legal officer. Gustafson was previously a partner at Bingham McCutchen before its London office joined Akin Gump in 2014.

‘The team who joined from Bingham McCutchen regarded Gustafson incredibly highly and he does very similar work to what we do. He’s coming back and we’re really excited to have him back,’ Rice added.

Squire Patton Boggs went both ways in London with the hire of banking partner Ian Yeo from Herbert Smith Freehills. The firm also lost employment partner Natalie Bellwood, however, to B2B IT services provider DXC Technology, where she becomes global head of employment.

Elsewhere, DLA hired Amrit McLean from Aviva, where she was propositions and sales director, as a partner to launch the firm’s pensions de-risking service. McLean has 13 years’ experience in pensions de-risking and pensions bulk annuity work.

UK head of pensions at DLA Piper Ben Miller told Legal Business: ‘There’s an awful lot of insurance that is being issued. There is a real need within the market for a really strong and comprehensive team led by somebody who has that sector experience and that’s what we’re able to do here.’

Finally, Osborne Clarke made a lateral hire from Thrings, bringing in Steve Schofield to its UK real estate practice, while in Poland, DWF appointed partner Paweł Stykowski as head of insurance in the firm’s Warsaw office. He joins from Wierzbowski Eversheds Sutherland where he headed the financial services and compliance practice.

muna.abdi@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Another team transfers: Clyde & Co Aberdeen conveyancing practice moves to Ledingham Chalmers

Another team transfers: Clyde & Co Aberdeen conveyancing practice moves to Ledingham Chalmers

Clyde & Co  will be transferring its Simpson & Marwick Aberdeen estate agency team of 12 to Ledingham Chalmers  in the latest in a recent spate of departures from the firm.

The agreement will see the move of property partner David Geddie and senior associate Lynne Stewart, who will operate under the Ledingham Chalmers Estate Agency name. The team will practise from both Simpson & Marwick’s current premises in Aberdeen and Ledingham Chalmers’ headquarters in the city.

Partner and head of residential property at Ledingham Chalmers, Mike Cunningham, commented: ‘This deal presents an important evolution of our firm at a pivotal moment for the north-east [of Scotland]. We’re now seeing an improving picture in terms of activity and investment. For example, the city’s bypass opened recently; the P&J Live event arena opened recently too for Offshore Europe, its first conference; and construction is underway at Aberdeen Harbour Board’s £350m South Harbour development.

‘This deal isn’t about increasing size for the sake of it, it’s about bringing together two strong practices delivering unrivalled knowledge and expertise to clients and creating a stronger, sustainable market position in a region that’s experiencing something of a renaissance. That’s our motivation,’ Cunningham added.

Geddie commented: ‘This is a client-focused move. I have known and respected the Ledingham Chalmers’ team for many years. We’re enthusiastic about what it means to come together and create something new that offers such an impressive service to clients ranging from first time buyers to those looking at the very top end of the market.’

Clydes residential property division will continue to operate under the Simpson & Marwick brand in Edinburgh and East Lothian and its Aberdeen office with continue to house its global insurance practice, led by Harry Boyle and Mark Donaldson. Ledingham Chalmers has offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Stirling and Inverness and will now have 198 people, including 33 partners.

Clydes merged with Simpson & Marwick in 2015, which had a significant property team. It also had a private client team, which was transferred to Scottish firm Gillespie Macandrew last month as the firm chose to focus more on its core sectors of insurance, energy, trade & commodities, transport and infrastructure.

In recent weeks, Clydes has seen significant number of departures with six London-based shipping partners from the firm’s global marine group resigning, as well as eight partners leaving the San Francisco office. Both groups left the firm in favour of setting up their own boutique practices.

Muna.abdi@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Case study: Clyde & Co

Case study: Clyde & Co

A model of consistency in the Legal Business 100, 2018/19 was Clyde & Co’s 21st consecutive year of growth – albeit with a merger or two thrown in. This time around it grew 11%, adding £59.7m to its top line to reach £611m.

In just three years, the firm has grown by 36%, or £160m in total. ‘If you went back eight years, we were around £250m turnover. We are now a £600m+ business,’ says senior partner Simon Konsta.