Legal Business

Taylor Wessing breaks £150m UK revenue barrier as PEP rises 13%

Taylor Wessing breaks £150m UK revenue barrier as PEP rises 13%

Taylor Wessing has kicked off the financial reporting season for the UK top-25 with another year of double-digit growth in profit per equity partner (PEP).

In the first financial results since Shane Gleghorn took over as managing partner, the tech-focused firm increased UK turnover by 8% to £156.6m in 2018/19.

Profits at the 366-lawyer business rose 10% to £62.6m off the back of what Gleghorn described as a surge in corporate technology deals, particularly around digital platforms. PEP at the 96-strong UK partnership grew 13% to £655,230, following a 20% increase the previous year: one of the strongest performances in the UK top-25. The results give the firm some momentum after two years of slower revenue growth and a 6% drop in PEP in 2016/17.

Meanwhile, Taylor Wessing’s global verein, which includes 1,150 lawyers and 344 partners in 18 countries, hiked turnover 13% to £339.7m, after breaking the £300m barrier last year.

Gleghorn told Legal Business: ‘We have had a strong performance in all our sectors and practice areas, but there have been some standouts: corporate technology has had a very strong year, and patents had an extraordinarily successful year, with some ground-breaking litigation. Our private wealth and real estate teams had a very strong year as well in a context where a lot of people predicted that the real estate market would be very difficult.’

Recent mandates included the sale of 80% of cryptocurrency exchange platform Bitstamp to Brussels-based investment firm NXMH, the £178m acquisition of Audio Network by Entertainment One UK, and the £85m funding of digital bank Monzo from General Catalyst and Accel.

The year was marked by a number of significant strategic moves for the firm, with former litigation co-head Gleghorn replacing long-time managing partner Tim Eyles last October.

In a bid to increase profitability, Taylor Wessing launched a low-cost centre in Liverpool in the autumn which it plans to staff with 150 people by the end of 2020, including business services roles, paralegals and lawyers.

In January, it put 34 of its 270 City business services staff under consultation with a view to relocate some of their roles to the Northshore office. The consultation is still ongoing.

In a boost to its tech credentials, the firm entered an alliance with Silicon Valley leader Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in February, which will see the two firms co-operate on transactional work in tech and life sciences.

Gleghorn added: ‘We have seen a very successful drive of revenue from the US, both through Wilson Sonsini but also our Palo Alto office.’

For more on Shane Gleghorn’s background and approach to leadership, see our latest Life During Law (£)

Legal Business

Life during law: Shane Gleghorn

Life during law: Shane Gleghorn

My mother is Irish and my father English. They were first-generation immigrants. I was born a year after my mother’s arrival in Australia.

Perth was a fantastic place to grow up. We were close to the ocean. A very outdoors environment – you’d cycle to school. Fantastic as a child.

Legal Business

‘A third way’: Taylor Wessing enters alliance with West Coast leader Wilson Sonsini

‘A third way’: Taylor Wessing enters alliance with West Coast leader Wilson Sonsini

Marco Cillario assesses Taylor Wessing’s alliance with Silicon Valley royalty Wilson Sonsini as RPC forges US insurance partnership

While the issue of securing a meaningful US footprint for many UK-bred firms endures, Taylor Wessing UK managing partner Shane Gleghorn claims his firm has found the way to gain transatlantic coverage without a complicated merger.

Legal Business

Taylor Wessing to enter alliance with West Coast leader Wilson Sonsini

Taylor Wessing to enter alliance with West Coast leader Wilson Sonsini

Taylor Wessing is entering into an alliance with Silicon Valley firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati.

The UK top 20 firm confirmed to Legal Business today (18 February) that its global partnership has approved proposals for the two firms to co-operate on transactional work in tech and life sciences. It will see its lawyers work together with the Palo Alto-bred firm on matters including transactions with a US and European element.

Taylor Wessing will maintain relationships with other US firms outside the tech and life sciences transactional space. The firm currently has a representative base in Silicon Valley staffed by two partners, one counsel and one associate, as well as a base in New York, but does not practice US law.

Wilson Sonsini launched a small London outpost in August 2018, led by US tech lawyer Daniel Glazer. The firm’s website also lists one counsel and one associate in the City base, which is not practising English law.

Following two years of sluggish growth in the UK, Taylor Wessing posted a strong set of financial results in 2017/18, hiking UK revenue 12% to £144.6m and profits per equity partner 20% to £579,000. Globally the firm, which last year moved from a looser alliance of international firms into a formal verein structure, broke the £300m barrier after hiking turnover 12% to £301.5m.

Meanwhile, Wilson Sonsini posted revenue of $797m for 2017, up 6% on the previous year and making the firm the 53rd largest by revenue in Legal Business Global 100 tables. PEP at the Palo Alto-bred firm was $2.2m, up 12% on the previous year.

For more on Taylor Wessing, see ‘LB100 case study: Taylor Wessing’ (£)

Legal Business

City biz services staff under threat again as Taylor Wessing mulls 34 redundancies

City biz services staff under threat again as Taylor Wessing mulls 34 redundancies

The transfer of business services roles into low-cost bases shows no sign of slowdown in 2019, with top 20 UK firm Taylor Wessing announcing it is considering making 13% of its 270-strong City team redundant by the end of 2020.

The move, announced today (25 January), potentially affects 34 London-based staff and comes as the firm looks to create 35 new business services roles in the Liverpool base it launched last October.

Led by head of real estate disputes Saleem Fazal, the firm plans to grow the headcount in its Northshore office from 20 to 150 by the end of 2020, including new roles and relocations from London.

It is currently considering proposals to move some of its business services functions from London to Liverpool. If implemented, the proposals could lead to redundancies in the City, although the firm said in a statement that all individuals impacted will be offered the opportunity to relocate to Liverpool.

As well as the business support staff, the Liverpool office will host at least ten paralegals and two real estate associates.

The consultation on the plans will launch on 6 February and is expected to last between four and six weeks.

Taylor Wessing managing partner Shane Gleghorn told Legal Business: ‘We want to remain competitive, invest in our business and increase profitability. Many other organisations have the alternative resourcing model. We are wishing to focus on the legal piece and our current sectors of focus. We are not chasing local revenue, it is not about competing with local firms [in Liverpool]. This is very much consistent with our current strategy.’

The news comes in spite of Taylor Wessing posting a strong set of financial results in 2017/18, its UK profit per equity partner rising 20% to £579,000 while global revenue of the verein firm rose 12% to £144.6m.

Taylor Wessing joins a long list of firms announcing reviews of their London support staff amid cost pressure. Last October, Baker McKenzie launched a review of its entire London business services staff, estimated to include around 350 people.

A few days later Bakers announced a new low-cost centre in Tampa, Florida, catering for a similar number of roles.

In July, Ashurst slashed 54 of its 100-strong secretarial team and Ince & Co announced 32 redundancies, including 25 business services staff and seven fee earners.

Hogan Lovells cut 54 of around 500 business services roles in June, moving most of them to low-cost hubs in Birmingham, Johannesburg and Louisville.

Legal Business

LB100 case study: Taylor Wessing

LB100 case study: Taylor Wessing

Long-serving managing partner Tim Eyles (pictured) received a nice farewell gift in his last year at the helm of Taylor Wessing, as the firm posted one of the strongest financial performances in the top 25.

The tech-focused shop rode hugely on the boom in transactional activity and the high demand for GDPR advice to grow UK revenue by a solid 12% to £144.6m. Globally, Taylor Wessing – which over the last financial year moved from a looser alliance of international firms into a formal verein structure – broke the £300m barrier after hiking turnover 12% to £301.5m.

Legal Business

Taylor Wessing follows northshore wave with 10-lawyer Liverpool launch

Taylor Wessing follows northshore wave with 10-lawyer Liverpool launch

Taylor Wessing is joining the growing list of City firms expanding into low cost centres in the UK by launching an office in Liverpool.

The UK top 20 firm’s new base will open in September with an initial team of 11 lawyers and business support staff. Taylor Wessing will appoint a partner to lead the new office and aims to grow the team to 25 by the end of the year – consisting of 10 legal and 15 non-legal roles. They will all be new roles for the firm.

But the jobs of three permanent City business acceptance staff are under consultation as a result of the move. The firm said in a statement affected staff will be given ‘the opportunity and financial support to relocate if they wish to’, and that moving to Liverpool was an opportunity to invest more in the team.

The Liverpool team will initially be working in flexible premises until a permanent office space is found, with the next steps to be announced next year. The office will assist lawyers with opening new client matters, as well as carrying out due diligence and conflict review.

Managing partner Tim Eyles said he saw the new outpost as ‘a catalyst for long-term reinvention to continue to deliver a better service, being smart with our resources and continuing to invest in more people – we will need them’.

He told Legal Business: ‘We did a lot of research and we concluded there is a great pool of talent across the North West, great connectivity and a whole spirit of creativity and innovation around Liverpool as a tech hub, consistent with one of our focus areas.’

The firm chose Liverpool because of the local talent pool, universities and its reputation as one of the fastest growing technology hubs in the country.

The Liverpool launch comes off the back of a strong financial year at Taylor Wessing, which in 2017/18 posted 12% revenue growth to £144.6m for its UK business and 12% growth in its international network to £301.5m. UK profits per equity partner (PEP) grew 20% to hit £579,000.

A number of firms have launched low-cost centres in the UK recently, with Clifford Chance entering Newcastle through the acquisition of Carillion’s in-house legal arm, while Reed Smith opened an outpost in Leeds.

The low cost centres have inevitably impacted City business support staff, with Hogan Lovells announcing last month it will cut 54 of its circa 500 business support jobs in London in favour of new roles in Johannesburg, Louisville and Birmingham.

Ashurst also launched a redundancy review in May which could result in 80% of its 100-strong secretarial team in London being axed, while Pinsent Masons began a consultation on cutting 100 non-legal jobs last year. Ince & Co announced in June it was to cut 30 roles, primarily impacting its business service ranks.

Legal Business

Taylor Wessing’s UK PEP shoots up 20% as global revenue exceeds the £300m mark

Taylor Wessing’s UK PEP shoots up 20% as global revenue exceeds the £300m mark

In another early sign of a good 2017/18 for UK firms, Taylor Wessing has followed up on a disappointing performance last year with a solid 12% revenue growth to £144.6m for its UK business.

In what UK managing partner Tim Eyles (pictured) described as the firm’s ‘best year yet’, UK profits per equity partner (PEP) rebounded to grow 20% and hit £579,000 after last year’s 6% drop to £481,000.

‘We achieved superb growth across our key sectors, especially in technology media and communications, life sciences, and private wealth,’ said Eyles of the last results he will oversee as managing partner. He is to step down after nine years at the helm in October and will be replaced by litigation co-head Shane Gleghorn.

In further evidence that the recent regulatory changes were a good source of business for tech-focused firms in the UK, Eyles also pointed to Taylor Wessing’s work on GDPR as an area of ‘particular success.’

The verein firm’s global revenue grew 12% to £301.5m, again, a stronger performance than last year’s 6% rise to £269.8m.

It was a year marked by changes for the firm. As well as electing Gleghorn last month, the firm appointed a new senior partner in December, with Dominic FitzPatrick replacing Adam Marks after six years.

Gleghorn and FitzPatrick receive a confident handover from Eyles, who took charge in 2009 in the midst of a recession and in the wake of a 7% fall in revenue for the 2008/09 financial year. Eyles is credited with hugely expanding the firm’s international network and giving it a clearer brand, building its non-IP disputes business and its private client offering.

Legal Business

Taylor Wessing finalises leadership overhaul as litigation chief succeeds veteran managing partner Eyles

Taylor Wessing finalises leadership overhaul as litigation chief succeeds veteran managing partner Eyles

Taylor Wessing has completed its management reshuffle with the election of the law firm’s litigation co-head Shane Gleghorn (pictured) to managing partner.

Gleghorn succeeds veteran managing partner Tim Eyles, who announced in December he would be stepping down days before the 1,000-lawyer firm elected Dominic FitzPatrick as its new senior partner, replacing Adam Marks after six years.

Eyles had been managing partner for nine years and was widely seen as effective at raising the top UK law firm’s profile and driving international expansion. Gleghorn’s election is effective from October on a three-year term.

Gleghorn joined the firm in 2006 and sits on its UK board. Eyles took Taylor Wessing’s helm in 2009 in the middle of a recession, and is credited with hugely expanding its international network and improving its brand. In the UK, the business grew 41% under Eyles’ watch, viewed as a credible performance for a top 50 practice, despite lagging the kind of expansion seen as broad peers such as Osborne Clarke and Fieldfisher.

Growth has also slowed lately. In the year to 30 April 2017, Taylor Wessing saw profit available for division among LLP members fall to £46.9m from £49.9m, despite a small 2% increase in turnover to £129.3m. The firm’s international businesses largely operate under separate profit centres.

Gleghorn’s appointment follows FitzPatrick’s election as senior partner, effective from December last year. Fitzpatrick is a private equity specialist and former head of the firm’s energy group, who has been a partner at the firm for 27 years.

For more commentary, see ‘Taylor Wessing faces some big decisions post-Eyles’ 

Legal Business

Trio of top-30 firms unveil new partners with Taylor Wessing and HFW boosting promotions rounds

Trio of top-30 firms unveil new partners with Taylor Wessing and HFW boosting promotions rounds

LB100 top-30 firms Taylor Wessing, Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW) and Dentons have all announced their Spring partner promotions covering the UK and beyond.

For Taylor Wessing, it is an increased UK round compared to last year when just one lawyer was made up to its London partnership. This year, the firm has promoted three lawyers to its partnership, with a further five being made up to senior counsel.

Among those being promoted is Katie Chandler, a dispute resolution lawyer who joined Taylor Wessing as a trainee in 2005. Chandler acts for clients spanning the retail, technology and life sciences sectors. Lerika Jourbet, who joined Taylor Wessing from Slaughter and May in 2013, has been promoted into the firm’s banking and finance practice. Edward Story, another Taylor Wessing lifer, has been elevated to partnership in the firm’s corporate division.

Taylor Wessing managing partner Tim Eyles commented: ‘Their original thinking and willingness always to challenge and be challenged are qualities we value just as highly as their technical skill and client relationships – and indeed which we think add to the latter.’

Despite the growth on last year’s partner promotions, the three elevated this year contrasts with the 16-strong UK round Taylor Wessing unveiled five years ago, although 15 of those came in non-UK offices.

Elsewhere, HFW has promoted eight new partners, but with just one in the UK. Alex Kemp, a litigator in the marine sector, is the sole lawyer promoted in London. Last year, the firm made up two lawyers in the capital.

The remaining seven new partners have been made up internationally, with three in Australia, two in Dubai and one each in Houston and Singapore.

Similarly, Dentons has recorded a slump in its London partner promotions, elevating five this year compared to seven in 2017. In a global round that saw the firm promote 36 new partners, Tessa Blank, Simon Elliot, Christopher Graf and Christopher Thomson were made up in London, while Jane Miles was promoted in Milton Keynes.

Early signs are mixed for partner promotions generally this year, with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer announcing yesterday (4 April) it had promoted a modest five lawyers to its London partnership. However, Linklaters increased the size of its promotions round for the fifth year in a row, adding 27 lawyers to its partnership. Similarly, Slaughter and May saw a dip in the number of promotions, while Hogan Lovells and Pinsent Masons recorded increases.