Legal Business

‘We are on the right course’: Fieldfisher sees double-digit revenue jump as PEP falls by same percentage

Fieldfisher has reported an 11% rise in firm-wide revenue to £370m from £330m, marking ten years of consecutive revenue growth for the firm. However, profit per equity partner (PEP) fell 11% to £930,000 from £1.05m in the previous financial year.

Broken down geographically,  the firm recorded a 9% rise in revenue at its London office, a 12% rise in revenue at its Birmingham office and a 13% rise in revenue at its Manchester office. In Europe, the firm recorded a 22% rise at its German office, a 20% rise at its Belgium office, a 9% rise at its Ireland office, and an 8% rise at its French office.

In terms of practice areas, IP enjoyed the largest revenue increase of 18%. Current cases for the group include Getty Images v Stability AI, a precedent setting piece of copyright litigation, and the trade mark case Sky v Skykick. Its disputes practice achieved a 17% increase in revenue and its employment team achieved a 15% revenue increase. The firm’s real estate group and its corporate group had more modest years, with a 10% and a 9% increase in revenue growth respectively.

Commenting on the results, managing partner Rob Shooter (pictured) said: ‘This has been a remarkable year in many respects. Once again, we have achieved double-digit revenue growth, pushing our integrated firm turnover to over £300m for the first time in our history. We have launched the firm’s new strategy and continued to implement our European growth agenda, opening an office in Vienna, a strong European commercial centre in a region strategically important to us and our clients.’

In the statement, while the firm did not address the decline in profit directly, Shooter noted: ‘We have also invested significantly in areas of the firm that were previously under-invested, stretching across our systems, processes, and resources. These are big developments and investments, designed to make our firm more competitive, so that we can take better advantage of emerging business opportunities, and be more robust in response to challenging market conditions.’

He added: ‘We implemented our current strategy last year and this will run until 2025. It is based on three “peaks” of collaboration, building Europe’s leading law firm and ESG. We think this has served us well so far and are confident we are on the right course for the future.’

Over the last year, 10 lateral hires have joined Fieldfisher globally. In London this includes the arrival of disputes partners Ania Farren and Priyanka Kapoor, corporate partner Melanie Talbot, structured finance partner Peter Knust, planning partner Christopher Stanwell, and regulatory partner Robert Jappie. Shooter added that key areas for headcount growth over the next financial year are Vienna and Birmingham.

Its Vienna launch was part of the European expansion element of the firm’s 2022-2025 strategy and saw 18 new colleagues join the new office, including five partners. The firm confirmed that it is looking to further its European expansion through a mixture of growing its existing offices and new office openings.

Legal Business

Sponsor briefing: The evolving data protection framework in the United States

Paul Lanois of Fieldfisher on how California led the way in creating new legislation inspired by GDPR

Since the introduction of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which went into effect in May 2018, there has been an increased interest in consumer data protection and privacy around the world (as seen for example with the introduction of new laws such as Brazil’s General Law for the Protection of Personal Data).

Legal Business

Fieldfisher sees 15% turnover growth as PEP tops £1m

Fieldfisher today (26 July) confirmed a ninth consecutive year of growth, showing a solid 15% firm-wide revenue increase to £330m. Profit per equity partner (PEP) at the firm was even more buoyant, topping the £1m mark for the first time as it jumped 22% to £1.05m.

At a UK level, the firm recorded a 17% rise in turnover across its London, Manchester and Birmingham offices. The Germany practice was similarly prosperous, posting a 16% rise across the year. The Silicon Valley office, which opened in 2012, also grew in both revenue and headcount.

The numbers represent a return to form after a more muted 2021. Last year, the firm mustered modest 6% revenue growth, a marked decline from the double-digit figures to which it had become accustomed.

Practice area-wise, the financial markets and products group had the most impressive year, posting a 28% rise in revenue, though real estate and corporate were also busy, each seeing 20% growth in turnover. Disputes had a slightly more modest year, growing by 10%. Highlights from the last 12 months include the rapid development of alternative legal solution Condor, a new mass-litigation focussed German business unit, and over 20 lateral partner additions.

Managing partner Robert Shooter said of the results: ‘In-line with our strategic focus, we have recorded exceptional growth in Europe, underpinned by our strong platform across the region and driven by our ability to offer seamless multi-disciplinary and cross-border service to clients operating in this market. Key to our success has also been our focus on carefully chosen sectors and areas of growth.

‘I am immensely grateful to everyone in the firm for their hard work and contribution to our continued success. Having already built a solid business model and a high-performing international platform, we are now perfectly positioned to embark on the next phase of development focused on ever greater collaboration, integration and growth.’

Legal Business

Financials 2020/21: European contributions crucial as Fieldfisher and Kennedys post resilient revenues

Thanks in part to their respective European networks, Fieldfisher and Kennedys have both posted robust 2020/21 revenues in the face of the pandemic.

There was an inevitable slowdown in growth at Fieldfisher, today unveiling a modest 6% uptick in revenues to reach £290m. It is the firm’s eighth consecutive year of growth, but it does not match double-digit increases seen in recent years. The firm chalked up the deceleration to ‘the impact of the pandemic.’

In that context a 6% rise is respectable, and the firm attributed the solid performance to double-digit revenue growth across its Brussels, German and Paris offices, an endorsement of its frantic European expansion in recent years. Its Silicon Valley hub, which acts as a gateway to European markets for US clients, increased turnover by 9%.

The firm did not disclose detailed financial results last year, so a like-for-like comparison is not possible, but profit per equity partner (PEP) hit £860,000. The figure was £805,000 in 2019.

Managing partner Michael Chissick said: ‘In a challenging year when Brexit and Covid-19 were front and centre of everybody’s agenda, I am pleased to be announcing our positive results. Activity levels over the last year reached record highs in some months and remain strong. We are back to focusing on growth. We will continue to add and promote talent to our ranks to support our growth strategy and we have started the new financial year with confidence and optimism.’

Work highlighted by the firm included its disputes team acting on the $370m Tatneft case, the longest virtual trial in the High Court, as well as the corporate team assisting Ferrero Rocher on its £246m acquisition of Fox’s Biscuits confectionery brands.

Meanwhile Kennedys managed to outstrip its 9% revenue growth from last year, today recording an 11% jump in global turnover to reach £264m. Like Fieldfisher, the firm pointed to ‘exceptional growth’ across its European offices, which collectively grew revenues 45% on the previous year.

In the UK, turnover was up 9% on the previous year, hitting £151m. The firm will have benefited from its Leeds launch at the start of the year, which saw a 36-strong insurance team arrive from Langleys.

Kennedys also reported double-digit growth in Latin America and North America, and added 25 partner appointments in the last 12 months to boost its global benches.

Senior partner Nick Thomas (pictured) hailed the positive results as the firm decided not to make any redundancies or pay cuts when the pandemic hit: ‘It gave me immense satisfaction to lead a partnership that chose to do this during what was a very challenging time.’

He added: ‘When we released strong financial results last year, we were only a couple of months into the pandemic. We did not know what the year ahead would hold. So, these results serve as a testament to the incredible professionalism and hard work of our teams across the world. I couldn’t be prouder of their efforts to support our clients and each other over the past year.’

Legal Business

Revolving doors: McDermott hires Hogan Lovells private equity head as Dechert loses partners in London and Paris

The lateral market maintained momentum last week as McDermott Will & Emery hired from Hogan Lovells with both Addleshaw Goddard and Paul Hastings targeting Dechert.

McDermott added Hogan Lovells’ global private equity head Tom Whelan. Whelan, who is experienced in private equity life cycle, has worked with private equity sponsors, multi strategy funds and corporates. His work includes advising on buyouts, M&A, bolt-ons, restructurings and refinancings through to exits.

Hamid Yunis, McDermott’s London managing partner told Legal Business: ‘We are always looking to build upon the strong practices which we have in London and to add top quality lawyers who are equally focused on providing world class client service.’

Addleshaws has hired restructuring partner Paul Fleming who joins the London business support and restructuring insolvency practice from Dechert.

Fleming has been involved in cross-border work, both in restructuring and contentious insolvency matters and advises creditors including institutional lenders and bondholders, stakeholders, insolvency practitioners and directors.

Partner and head of business support and restructuring, Ged Barnes commented: ‘This is the start of an ambitious strategy for the team which will help us to capitalise on our international offices.  Paul’s expertise in cross border insolvencies, funds recovery work and complex, high value insolvency litigation is a great fit with our existing practice.’

Meanwhile, Burges Salmon hired partner Stuart McMillan to its banking team from DLA Piper. He has worked in energy and infrastructure finance and advised banks and borrowers on project finance, acquisition finance and real estate finance deals involving cross-border financing. He will help develop the general Scottish banking practice as well as the firm’s infrastructure, real estate and energy offering.

Burges Salmon managing partner, Roger Bull told Legal Business: ‘Stuart is extremely high quality with a great reputation in the market. From our perspective, he’s got great experience in relation to finance and projects along with some of the other sectors that we’ve been focusing on like energy and renewables. He has those particular skills that will assist and drive our client offer forward in Edinburgh.

‘Banking is performing well. We’re having strong performance across the firm so far this financial year. The banking team are ever expanding their remit, expertise and focus which is very much aligned with Stuart’s appointment,’ added Bull.

Elsewhere, Fieldfisher has hired Paul Stockley as its new co-head of oil and gas. He joins the energy and natural resources group in London from Womble Bond Dickinson where he was head of oil and gas.

Stockley said: ‘The firm’s reputation for all forms of energy and natural resources work is already well-established across the industry and I am encouraged by its ambitious plans for future growth. I look forward to being a part of those plans, leveraging off a tremendous brand and platform.’

Paul Hastings has added to its Paris office with the hire of corporate partner Charles Cardon from Dechert. He has a focus on takeovers, M&A, private equity, and capital markets transactions.

Cardon advises public companies in their takeover bids, issuance of securities, governance matters, disclosure requirements and relationship with shareholders, as well as corporate law matters.

Meanwhile, in Brussels, Alston & Bird has added senior privacy and cybersecurity partner Wim Nauwelaerts from Sidley Austin.

Privacy and cybersecurity co-chair Jim Harvey commented: ‘Privacy and cybersecurity continue to be increasingly critical issues for CEOs and boards, especially among US-based multinationals that view data protection as a global issue.

‘Wim is an internationally recognised attorney in the EU privacy and cybersecurity arena with a well-earned reputation as a trusted voice in advising senior executives in the US, Europe, and elsewhere on strategic business decisions and initiatives involving their companies’ most valuable data assets,’ Harvey added.

Legal Business

Wealth of experience: Fieldfisher hires private client duo from Linklaters

Fieldfisher has hired Linklaters’ head of trusts Peter Golden to lead up its private client team.

Golden will replace partner Penny Wotton, who will be remain in the team and focus on the firm’s charity client base and building out the private client practice. He will be joined by Alistair Robertson, who will be promoted from managing associate to partner in the move.

The firm declined to comment on whether any other lawyers would also be transferring.

Linklaters hired Golden from Forsters in 2016 to head up its trusts practice as part of a strategy to reposition the Magic Circle firm for private client work. He advises offshore ultra-high net worth and UK-based foreign nationals on trust, private client and charity matters.

Golden commented: ‘I am very excited to be joining Fieldfisher, which I believe will provide an ideal platform for me to develop the firm’s private client base and promote its reputation for providing specialist advice to ultra-high net worth clients.

‘I am looking forward to working with Penny and the existing team of private client experts in a new, ambitious environment with the tools and support necessary to grow the practice.’

Robertson advises international individuals, families, trustees, family offices and private banks on succession planning, personal taxation and trust law with a focus on ultra-high net worth individuals in the Far East.

Elsewhere in private client moves, Clyde & Co last week said it was transferring the team it acquired following its merger with Simpson & Marwick in 2015 to Scottish firm Gillespie Macandrew in Edinburgh. The move was part of Clydes’ strategy of focusing on its core sectors of insurance, energy, trade & commodities, transport and infrastructure.

Legal Business

Fieldfisher reducing UK reliance following third consecutive year of double-digit growth

Fieldfisher is looking to further reduce the percentage of overall turnover generated in the UK following a year defined by geographic expansion.

Turnover at the mid-market pace-setter hit £242m, up a better-than-expected 17% in the third consecutive year of double-digit growth at the firm. Profit per equity partner (PEP) rose 7% to £805,000, and has nearly doubled over the last five years.

One of the largest contributors to the firm’s growth was Germany, where revenue grew 48%, including the firm’s newly-opened Frankfurt office. Within the UK, revenue increased 11%, while the firm’s corporate practice grew 28%. Financial services was highlighted as the best performing sector, growing 14% to £31m.

The performance eclipses the single-digit growth Chissick had last year predicted amid Brexit-induced uncertainty. In addition to its Frankfurt opening, Fieldfisher also launched in Barcelona, Madrid, Guangzhou, Luxembourg and most recently, Dublin.

‘We’re looking to reduce the percentage of overall turnover generated in the UK,’ Fieldfisher managing partner Michael Chissick (pictured) told Legal Business. ‘Our zeal to be a European law firm is unblemished, but we won’t be going for so many office openings. There will be more focus on consolidation and integration in the year ahead.’

The firm also saw headcount grow, with 24 lateral hires and a 14-strong promotion round leading to a 24% growth in fee earners. But the revenue growth represents a relative slowdown on last year, when the firm’s revenue soared 24% and PEP grew 17%.

Despite lingering Brexit uncertainty and a degree of caution at the firm, Chissick remains confident for the year ahead and hopes to grow the firm’s European brand further.

‘We’re chuffed with the results,’ he told Legal Business. ‘The firm has had a really standout year.’

Other financial results this month have seen Stephenson Harwood return to growth while CMS pushed forward its UK revenue by 5%.

Legal Business

Global expansion: Fieldfisher picks Dublin for seventh office launch in a year

Fieldfisher continues to build on what managing partner Michael Chissick describes as a strategy to be ‘in every commercial capital in Europe’, having opened in Dublin – its seventh new office since the beginning of 2018.

The mid-market pacesetter merged on 1 May with Irish firm McDowell Purcell to add the 25th office to its global verein. Led by managing partner JP McDowell, the 120-year-old firm counts 16 partners and 50 lawyers. Its regulatory practice is its core strength, while also operating in disputes, employment, planning, restructuring and insolvency.

Legal Business

Fieldfisher merges with top 20 Irish firm McDowell Purcell for Dublin launch

Fieldfisher is continuing its fervent EU expansion with a new Dublin office, launched via a merger with top 20 Irish firm McDowell Purcell.

The 120-year-old Irish outfit, which consists of 16 partners and 50 lawyers, has a flagship regulatory practice, but other specialisms include dispute resolution, employment and insolvency and restructuring. It is led by managing partner JP McDowell (pictured, left).

Fieldfisher managing partner Michael Chissick (pictured, right) told Legal Business: ‘We set out a strategy a few years ago to be in every commercial capital in Europe, and Ireland is a key financial centre. We like the life sciences industry developing there too, so there were a lot of nice synergies.’

He added: ‘This combination will create the eighteenth largest law firm in the Republic of Ireland.’

McDowell noted that merger discussions between the two firms started to intensify last summer, but they had worked with each other for close to a decade. He commented: ‘We did talk to other law firms [about a merger], but the pan-European presence Fieldfisher has and the level of ambition Michael has shown swung the balance.’ McDowell, who will operate as Fieldfisher’s managing partner for the Republic of Ireland, said around 30 new partners, lawyers and support staff are set to join the Dublin office in the next year.

The tie-up, which will come into effect from 1 May, will mark Fieldfisher’s 25th global office. It comes somewhat unexpectedly, after Chissick played down the potential for further European launches after the firm added a long-awaited Spanish arm last year.

The Spain launch, which was also achieved via a merger with a local firm, came after a sustained period of European expansion. Fieldfisher also opened in offices in Luxembourg and Frankfurt earlier that same year, with a new Amsterdam office established in 2017.

Fieldfisher has been one of the UK’s highest-performing firms in recent years. Between 2013 and 2018 its firm-wide revenue has grown 118% to £207m.

Legal Business

Eversheds’ City partner promotions dip in bolstered global round as Fieldfisher makes up most ever

Eversheds Sutherland’s international business has made 27 partner promotions, up seven on a flat 2018 round, but with just three promotions in London.

Fieldfisher, meanwhile, has made up 17 partners this year in its largest ever promotions round.

A third of Eversheds’ promotions are female, with the firm aiming for 30% female representation at partner level by 2021. In the UK the firm made up 16 partners, up from nine last year, across Leeds, Birmingham, Belfast, Manchester, Cambridge, Nottingham, and London.

Three were minted in the City, which was down one on the four made up last year. The 11 promoted outside the UK are in Dublin, Durban, Luxembourg, Baghdad, Rome, Dubai and Munich.

There were nine promotions in company commercial, eight in litigation and disputes, six in real estate and four in human resources. The round is up on last year’s 20 promotions, in what was a flat year. In December, Eversheds Sutherland US made up six to partner, down on last year’s 17.

Chief executive Lee Ranson (pictured) commented on the round, which also included 17 legal director promotions: ‘The Eversheds Sutherland promotion process is challenging and designed to ensure that only the very best candidates succeed. On behalf of the firm, I would therefore like to congratulate all of the successful candidates on this significant achievement.’

Elsewhere, Fieldfisher had another record promotions round, making up 14 across London, Birmingham, Manchester, Brussels, Munich and Silicon Valley. The promotions were up on last year’s ten, and included five in London as well as 50% female representation. The practice areas covered were IP, technology, personal injury, corporate, employment, construction, finance, regulatory and dispute resolution.

Managing partner Michael Chissick commented: ‘I am proud that we have achieved such a high level of promotions this year – a record for the firm, both in terms of the number of new partners and the number of offices involved.’

The full list of Eversheds partner promotions:

Colin Askew, tax, Leeds
Enda Cullivan, corporate, Dublin
Andrew Davidson, commercial, Durban
Alexandre Huebscher, financial services, Luxembourg
Mozahem Khalaf, corporate, Baghdad
Massimo Maioletti, GDPR, Rome
Hani Nassef, corporate, Dubai
Jenna Poulton, restructuring, Birmingham
Lara Wills, commercial, Durban
Lisa Bryson, employment, Belfast
Simon Daniel, pensions, Manchester
Louise Lightfoot, employment, Leeds
Manuela Rauch, employment, Munich
Mark Cooper, FSDI, London
Tom Douglas, (real estate litigation and construction) RELCON, Cambridge
Mariangela di Giandomenico, administrative law, Rome
Richard Hartigan, RELCON, Birmingham
Louise Howarth, CDR, Nottingham
Nick Pinder, RELCON, London
Jane Southworth, environment H&S, Manchester
Salam Zuhair, CDR, Baghdad
Balraj Birdi, core real estate, London
Peter Bowen, operations director, Leeds
Elizabeth Cartwright, core real estate, Manchester
Ben Newton, core real estate, Birmingham
Philipp Turnwald, core real estate, Munich
Daniel Walsh, core real estate, Birmingham

The full list of Fieldfisher partner promotions:

Amy Reynolds, IP and technology, protection and enforcement, London
Dushal Mehta, personal injury, London
Edward Westhead, corporate, London
Fabian Reissinger, employment, Munich
Felicity Fisher, privacy, security and information, Silicon Valley
Helen Andrews, construction, Birmingham
James Corlett, brand development, franchising, advertising and commercial, Manchester
Katharina Weimer, technology, outsourcing and privacy, Munich
Marsili Hale, finance, London
Nick Phillips, real estate, Birmingham
Olivia Woolston Morgan, technology, outsourcing and privacy, London
Peter Sellar, regulatory, Brussels
Stephen May, dispute resolution, Birmingham
Tracey Wright, dispute resolution, London