Legal Business

Sponsored briefing: The influence of diversity in M&A

Emma Danks, partner and co-head of Taylor Wessing’s international corporate group shares her experience on how the M&A industry has evolved, the greater awareness of diversity and inclusion in private equity and the rising profile of female founders in the venture capital world

The three areas of M&A, private equity and venture capital are typically perceived as being among the toughest working cultures and one of the most competitive industries in the business world. With the client base being historically predominantly male, there was a perception that it was more difficult for new talent, and more diverse talent, to break through.

Legal Business

Financials 2022/23: Taylor Wessing sustains global growth for fifth year in a row

With the financial reporting season in full swing, Taylor Wessing has unveiled its latest results, becoming a €500m firm for the first time.

The firm experienced slower growth compared to the previous season, as it did not achieve double-digit growth as it did in 2021/2022. The firm saw a 4% increase in global revenue to £439m in this year’s financial results, up from £420.6m last year, which its highest recorded international revenue to date.

It witnessed a similar increase in UK revenue, which went up 4% to reach £227.1m, surpassing the figure of £219.3m reported for the 2021/2022 period.

UK profit, however, dropped by 12% from £93m to £87.1m, but it is still the second highest on record for the firm. The firm did not disclose some figures, but PEP is estimated to be £809,000 and RPL in excess of £500,000.

UK managing partner Shane Gleghorn (pictured) told Legal Business: ‘We’re delighted to see growth in both the UK business and international business. We’re very pleased we managed to maintain growth in those circumstances where the markets, certainly in the UK, were more muted in relation to fundraising and corporate work.’

Talking about the latest developments, he continued: ‘We’ve got big investment in our new premises in London, and we’ve moved into new premises in Cambridge and Dublin. There’s been quite a lot of lateral hiring and promotions taking place, particularly across London, Dubai and Dublin. We’ve been growing out our IP offering and broadly speaking, the plan is to create a holistic IP offering across Europe. We’ve started to implement that, and it has been a very significant point of investment for us.’

This year marked the launch of Taylor Wessing’s latest three-year strategy, following the introduction of its previous strategy in 2020, which Gleghorn said resulted in significant revenue growth in the UK, increasing from approximately £157m to over £227m, a growth rate of 44%. Additionally, global revenue also increased from around £365m to approximately £438m, a growth rate of over 20%.

Commenting on the fall in UK profit this year, Gleghorn said: ‘We do anticipate that the profit will improve next year, but it wasn’t an unexpected turn of events for the profit to be flat at this year. We anticipated that the market would be slower in some of our core areas. We are very confident about our profit position because, when you view it in the context of the preceding two years of growth, it is still the second-highest profit that we have ever earned.’

Discussing which practice areas had made the greater contribution, he continued: ‘It’s fair to say it was across the board contributions. In London, patents, private equity, private client, disputes work, and employment have all had strong years. Tech and life sciences have also had a strong year, but there’s no doubt that the second half of the financial year was more challenging for most firms who focus on that area.’

Legal Business

International round-up: Morgan Lewis opens second German office as Taylor Wessing welcomes new Ireland partners

Morgan Lewis is to open a Munich office with a team of 20 lawyers from Shearman & Sterling, in what are the latest departures from Shearman as its merger talks with Hogan Lovells collapsed. Morgan Lewis’s new transactional and regulatory team will focus on M&A, private equity, finance and tax.

Partners Florian Harder, Florian Zielger and Jann Jetter will lead the Munich office. Harder, head of  Shearman’s German office, will be Morgan Lewis’ Munich managing partner. He has represented international corporates, strategic investors and private equity firms on M&A transactions for German and cross-border deals.  Ziegler is a leveraged finance partner, concentrating on both German and cross-border leveraged finance transactions, while Jetter leads the tax advisory practice, which has a focus on post-deal reorganisations and integrations, as well as tax-orientated structuring of private equity funds and private equity transactions.

The firm already has a Frankfurt presence, with over 20 lawyers practising across the manufacturing, energy, technology, life sciences, financial services, and automotive services sectors. Its Frankfurt office dispute resolution team is ranked in tier 4 in the latest Legal 500 EMEA guide, with key clients including Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Tschechische Republik and Hamburg Commercial.

Firm chair Jami McKeon said: ‘Germany is one of the most significant legal markets in Europe, and its importance is only growing’. She added: ‘Having two offices in Germany expands our broad global corporate practice and will further position us as an elite legal service provider and strategic partner for our clients in Germany and around the world.’

Managing partner Steven Wall said: ‘Munich is a dynamic hub with strategic importance to several industry sectors including private equity, infrastructure, energy, life sciences, and technology, and presents strong opportunities with intellectual property given that Munich is where the European Patent Office is headquartered.’

The firm felt that now was the right time to establish a Munich presence due to the expertise offered by the Shearman team. McKeon commented: ‘We have diligently eyed this market for some time to find the right high-calibre team that builds on our existing practice while adding to our strong culture of collaboration. We anticipate that the entire office, including the business professional team, will join us -enabling our new Munich office to operate at full speed on day one.’

Meanwhile, In Ireland, Taylor Wessing has hired two new partners to expand its finance and real estate offerings. Libby Garvey and Órlaith Molloy will be joining the firm’s Dublin office.

Legal 500 Hall of Fame-ranked Garvey is the former head of finance and projects at Addleshaw Goddard. Her clients include Irish and international banks and financial institutions who she advises on acquisition financing and bilateral and syndicated facilities.  Molloy moves from DWF, where she was head of real estate in Ireland and specialises in high-value commercial real estate, including retail, hotel, offices, and logistic centres.

Adam Griffiths, partner and head of Taylor Wessing’s Dublin office said: ‘Growing our team of international experts on the ground in Dublin is hugely valuable to our clients, including private equity sponsors and corporates pursuing M&A opportunities. Banking & finance and real estate are areas core to our growth plans, and we couldn’t have hired more credible leaders than Libby and Órlaith. They are both extremely well connected in the Irish ecosystem and will elevate our reputation for supporting clients through our specialist sector expertise, including with respect to technology, life sciences, healthcare, real estate, energy and infrastructure.’

Managing partner Shane Gleghorn added: ‘We are delighted that our team in Ireland is growing in a way that supports the needs of our clients. These two hires create a strong offering that matches our client demand. Libby is a senior banking and finance lawyer with a significant deal of experience, including in the real estate sector. Órlaith is equally well regarded as a specialist in commercial and corporate real estate. We are seeing increasing demand from our clients in relation to the Irish market, and these two hires are a significant step towards building a team that covers the key sector strengths of Taylor Wessing.’

Legal Business

‘We share strategy, values and corporate culture’: Taylor Wessing seals strategic alliance with Spain’s ECIJA

Taylor Wessing is expanding its global TMT offering  in Spain and Latin America through a new strategic alliance with Madrid-based ECIJA.

Announced today (7 March), the alliance ‘is in response to the continued investment, innovation and expansion of TMT and life sciences companies worldwide’.

In a statement, the firm said that the alliance consolidates its international offerings in both the technology, media and communications (TMC) and life science & healthcare sectors. Olaf Kranz, Germany managing partner and co-chair of the global board, said: ‘Like ours, ECIJA’s strategy is focused on representing our clients and creating opportunities for them in the major technology and life science hubs around the world. ECIJA’s success and trajectory is impressive and there has always been clear alignment with our values and symmetry across our strategic areas of focus.’

 ECIJA is an established Spanish firm, providing a particularly strong offering in data privacy and data protection, and TMT, with the firm ranked in Tier 1 in both areas in the latest Legal 500 EMEA guide. Key clients in these sectors include McDonald’s, Santander and Microsoft.

The firm has  offices in Spain, and across Latin America, including Brazil, Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, and Ecuador. Through their alliance, the two firms will be able to offer a combined network of 62 offices across 33 jurisdictions worldwide, with over 3,000 professionals, and 500 partners.

Shane Gleghorn (pictured), Taylor Wessing UK managing partner and co-chair of the global board said: ‘The Iberian Peninsula is an important region for our clients and their business growth. Widening our European offering to encompass each of the Euro 5 is part of our strategy to support clients in our core sectors and practice areas. We are delighted, therefore, that this alliance enables us to expand our client relationships by providing specialist expertise and excellence across the countries where our clients are investing.’

ECIJA managing partner Alejandro Touriño added: ‘We identify a huge opportunity in approaching the market together, creating a worldwide leading powerhouse in TMT. In Taylor Wessing we have found a partner with whom we share strategy, values and corporate culture.’

Taylor Wessing, a top 25 LB100 firm, saw its revenue increase by 13% last year to £420.6m, while profit per equity partner (PEP) rose 17% to £800,000.

Legal Business

Taylor Wessing’s UK revenue surges 25% amid fourth successive year of global growth

As financial reporting season enters full swing, Taylor Wessing has become the latest firm to report punchy double-digit growth for 2021/22, with UK revenue surging 25% to £219.3m.

UK profits also increased 32% to £93m while UK profit per equity partner (PEP) has reached a record high, increasing by 27%. The firm did not disclose its PEP figure but such an increase would put PEP firmly in the region of £800,000.

Globally, Taylor Wessing’s financials tell a similarly bullish story with a top line of £420.6m, up 13% from 371.3m last year, marking the firm’s fourth year of record international revenue growth.

Core sector strengths of technology, life sciences and healthcare were largely to thank for the gains, while it also reported significant growth in other key sectors of real estate and private wealth.

Shane Gleghorn (pictured), UK managing partner and global co-chair, told Legal Business: ‘The success was down to across the board performance, but it was underpinned by tech and life sciences. The transaction flow has been very strong in the last two years, both on the buy and sell side, and we have been at the very forefront of those.’

Standout mandates include acting for The Roald Dahl Story Company on its sale to Netflix, a deal which brought together the firm’s private wealth and tech sector capabilities. The firm also advised subscription-based investment platform interactive investor on its £1.5bn sale to FTSE 100 investment company abrdn and acted for robo-advice business Nutmeg on its acquisition by JPMorgan Chase.

The Netherlands and France have also been jurisdictions of growth while the Germany office is credited for its strong performance, particularly in corporate and patents. Gleghorn also highlighted its three-partner Cambridge office, which includes Ross McNaughton, Tasmina Goraya and Adrian Toutoungi: ‘It’s a small office but is capturing a really good market share and there are some really interesting transactions coming out of the region. There is such fantastic work being done in biotech and digital health in that area.’

Auspicious performance has been reflected in employees being awarded a 5% profit share for the second year, in addition to annual performance bonus payments of up to 30% of salaries. The firm also increased NQ salaries from £81,000 to £95,000 in London earlier this year.

Notwithstanding economic headwinds, Gleghorn is sanguine: ‘We’re going into a recessionary environment and that will change some aspects of the way we approach the market, but broadly, we will double down on the four areas in which we are best known. Corporate life sciences and digital health as well as corporate tech will continue to be strong for us, as will IP, structured real estate and private equity, but we will also have a renewed emphasis on restructuring and litigation.’ 

Legal Business

‘An element of the exceptional’: Simmons latest to post striking pandemic financials with double-digit revenue growth and soaring profits

Simmons & Simmons managing partner Jeremy Hoyland said there was ‘an element of the exceptional’ in the firm’s financial results announced today (16 July), with revenue growing 12% to £437m and profits shooting up 35% to £171m.

There was also a steep increase in profit per equity partner, growing 30% to reach £980k. Overall, this year’s results far outstrip the unremarkable 4% revenue growth and 6% profit increase from last year , as Hoyland explained that the firm benefited from a significant boom in instructions due to the pandemic.

He insisted that the revenue came purely from client work, with costs actually up on the previous year. This was thanks to increased salaries and growing headcount, despite savings on travel and entertainment due to enforced home working. Hoyland (pictured) told Legal Business: ‘We advised clients pro-actively, but they also came to us for solutions and significant mandates at a time of crisis. All of our offices grew in revenue, with the UK having a particularly strong year.’

He accepted that the firm ‘would not grow by 12% again’ next year, recognising the one-off nature of the current results: ‘One of the benefits of being a lawyer is that people come to you in the bad times as well as the good – it has always had that countercyclical nature. There’s an element of the exceptional in the results, but if you look back at our last four or five years of results there is something of a trajectory.’

There was a significant increase of work in the firm’s ESG, asset management and TMT practices in the past year. But there was also considerable growth from Simmons’ flexible resourcing platform, Adaptive, which increased income by 30% during the year. Hoyland added: ‘It’s partner-led, in a way some competitors aren’t. We will certainly be looking to internationalise the business soon.’

Other highlights include the firm making 23 lateral partner appointments, and promoting 13 lawyers to the partnership. Six of the newly-promoted partners were women, exceeding the firm’s target of 40% female partner promotions per year.

In other results announced this week, there were mixed fortunes at Stephenson Harwood as the firm unveiled a 2% slump in revenue, slipping from £213m to £209m. However chief executive Eifion Morris was optimistic, reporting that the firm had actually finished 8% higher than budgeted, and profitability increased 13%.

However Taylor Wessing joined Simmons and Herbert Smith Freehills  in posting impressive figures this week, announcing a 12% uptick in UK revenue to £175.5m and a 23% increase in UK profits to £71m.

Legal Business

Legal Business Award 2020 – Legal Technology Team of the Year

The entries were reviewed and our panel of general counsel judges delivered their verdicts: we are now delighted to reveal the winner of Legal Technology Team of the Year for the 2020 Legal Business Awards.

In this category, we recognise the law firms, in-house teams and chambers, either offshore or onshore, that have pushed through innovation and secured competitive advantage for their business. Important factors are fresh approaches in creating and delivering legal products, including utilising technology and new business models.




Sponsored by

Winner – Taylor Wessing

Ask any risk expert at a law firm what the biggest threat to their business is, and data breaches will always feature high on the list. But Taylor Wessing is stiffening the defence against such occurrences, with the firm launching a novel piece of legal tech to help target breaches, making the firm the standout choice for this year’s award.

Many businesses are now subject to cyber attacks, particularly fast-growing companies with less steeled security capabilities. Taylor Wessing’s TW:detect software was developed by its head of cybersecurity, Paul Glass, in collaboration with Pervade Software. The tool scans client websites for points vulnerable to attack and reduces the amount of data theft from businesses.

Taylor Wessing created the software in light of the Magecart attacks, which affected numerous companies in recent years. Magecart-style attacks are a form of data skimming, which collect sensitive information from online payment forms, such as email addresses, passwords, and credit card numbers.

Not only did Taylor Wessing identify the problem, but the firm went from concept to launch in under six weeks. Currently the software has two applications, with the first scanning conventional websites, where many Magecart-style attacks happen in real time. The second searches the dark web to identify potential data breaches aimed at stealing personal data, including bank details, as well as scanning websites for indicators of hacking. The TW:detect team are then notified of the results and work with the client to respond to the threat.

‘Taylor Wessing has helped us develop our product by looking at innovative applications for us and new ways it can help their clients,’ says John Davies, director of Pervade Software. ‘Their lawyers are widely known for their expertise in technology and in the sector so, for us, it was a no-brainer that they should be the first law firm that we collaborate with.’

Highly Commended – Kemp Little

Technology-focused boutique Kemp Little narrowly missed out on this year’s award, after the firm developed two in-house technology tools: Dupe Killer and 4Corners.

Dupe Killer is a subscription software product that protects clients’ valuable designs. While software that provides protection against counterfeit products is not new, Dupe Killer can identify products which may only copy one aspect of an original design, and not bear fake trade marks.

4Corners, meanwhile, analyses contracts and gives structured legal advice. It provides instant delivery to difficult legal questions that would otherwise take weeks of work to answer. The software was developed after the firm identified an acute client need during a piece of share sale work. With legal opinions needed on numerous interlinked documents and existing software feeling the strain, Kemp Little responded by creating a subsidiary called KL Technology to invest in the development of new tech, resulting in 4Corners.

Other nominations

Herbert Smith Freehills

Since its launch in 2011, HSF’s Alternative Legal Services team has evolved into a comprehensive client service model through its five eDiscovery hubs and 350 legal and technology specialists across 11 cities. Clients report the service has improved the capacity of their own legal staff to work on other matters, representing important added value.


This insurance-focused firm’s proprietary tech tool, KLAiM, assists insurers and organisations managing insurance claims in-house and has achieved notable success in the UK with clients such as Admiral, AXA and ERS adopting the tech. The firm is also undertaking transfer partnerships with the University of Manchester and UCL to develop next-generation fraud prevention software and an emerging risk analytical tool for insurers, respectively.

Slaughter and May

Through its investment and work with Luminance to its tech incubator programme, FastForward, Slaughters has been an unexpected pioneer of the use of tech in law in recent years. This was underlined in 2019 with the successful launch and execution of the firm’s first client-led legal tech programme, Collaborate.

Stephenson Harwood

The firm has, in collaboration with document automation specialists, created Deed Architect – a bespoke tool for use in drafting pension deed documents. Deed Architect transforms the way in which deeds are created, using artificial intelligence to perform the drafting while also bringing a greater certainty of accuracy.

Legal Business

City biz support jobs axed again as Taylor Wessing makes 28 redundant

Taylor Wessing has made 10% of its 270-strong City business services staff redundant, the latest in a string of firms moving support roles to lower-cost locations.

The UK top 20 firm announced the move today (7 February) following a consultation launched a year ago which affected up to 34 roles.

It said in a statement it was ‘pleased to report it has mitigated redundancies by finding affected staff new roles in London, or through redeployment in Liverpool’ which resulted in six of the 34 roles being saved.

Taylor Wessing also reported today that its Liverpool office, opened in November 2018, has since grown from ten to 17 lawyers and more than 60 business services professionals.

The firm plans to further grow the nearshoring base, led by real estate disputes head Saleem Fazal, to over 100 staff by April and has signed a ten-year lease for office space in the Edward Pavilion building in the Royal Albert Dock. Last year the firm said it planned to have 150 staff based there by the end of 2020.

Taylor Wessing managing partner Shane Gleghorn told Legal Business: ‘While there have been redundancies in our London office, we have mitigated the position which has ended up with 28 roles rather than the 34 initially projected. This has been a result of the high degree of professionalism displayed by everybody involved in the consultation process. We are also pleased to be on track to creating 100 new jobs in Liverpool, and there will be more jobs created in the future. This is not least because there are four major Universities in the city, and many of them share our focus on tech and life sciences. There is great talent available to our business.’

Taylor Wessing’s job cuts in the City come despite the firm growing its profit for a number of years. In 2018/19 profit rose 10% to £62.6m as the firm lifted UK turnover 8% to £156.6m. Profit per equity partner grew 13% to £655,230, following a 20% increase the previous year.

A number of other firms have slashed their City business support roles in favour of low-cost centres. Baker McKenzie scrapped 46 jobs in June last year, with 15 people made redundant and 31 moved to different roles within the firm. Hogan Lovells cut 54 of around 500 City business services roles in June 2018, moving most of them to low-cost hubs in Birmingham, Johannesburg and Louisville.

Other firms to announce redundancies in recent years include Ashurst and Ince.

Legal Business

Taylor Wessing loses practice head as Latham targets UK mid-market for first City tech laterals

Latham & Watkins has become the latest US player to expand its City emerging company capabilities by targeting two mid-market UK firms for a double-partner hire.

Taylor Wessing has seen one of its more senior departures in recent years as its head of technology, media and communications Mike Turner decamped to the US firm alongside Bird & Bird’s corporate partner Shing Lo. Both hires, announced today (29 January), were voted in by Latham’s partnership in early January and will join the firm over the next few weeks.

‘We are the first law firm that has a compelling emerging companies and venture capital practice on the West Coast, East Coast, Europe and Asia,’ Latham’s London corporate co-chair Robbie McLaren told Legal Business. ‘On top of this, we have the ability to do M&A and equity capital transactions in these jurisdictions as well, and that’s what clients are looking for.’

Promoted to the partnership in 2016, McLaren was until this move the only City partner covering the tech space at the firm: ‘When we set out to refine our global strategy in this sector we thought: where are we underweight in this space? The answer was London.’

He added: ‘As a West Coast heritage firm we understand how [the emerging companies practice] works and the opportunities it offers. There is such a great opportunity in this space with the amount of money being raised by private companies that we thought it would make sense to hire two outstanding practitioners.’

He added that when the firm started scouting partners last summer, Turner and Lo were the two names at the top of the list.

The loss of Turner is particularly ominous for Taylor Wessing, coming a few months after the firm lost a four-partner life sciences and tech team to another US player expanding its City capabilities in the area, Goodwin Procter.

Turner had joined Taylor Wessing from fellow UK tech-focused firm Osborne Clarke in 2013 and forged relationships with a number of tech companies both sides of the Atlantic, such as Farfetch.

Indeed, the entrance of a group of US firms into the City tech space brings a new competitive threat to a number of mid-market UK firms that had so far been largely spared by the Americans’ expansion this side of the pond.

Over the last few years US giants have usually targeted the UK Magic Circle, with Latham last year hiring Clifford Chance’s real estate veteran Stephen Curtis and Linklaters’ insurance partner Victoria Sander.

However, McLaren signalled Latham had no immediate appetite for further City laterals in the tech space: ‘With the connections these two hires bring we’ll have greater opportunity to grow. At the moment this will be sufficient and I suspect we’ll be more likely to promote our own lawyers.’

Legal Business

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.’