The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has confirmed that it is investigating Quindell’s ‘business and accounting practices’ as the company published revised annual accounts for 2014 showing a £312m swing from profit to loss in its Professional Services Division (PSD).
A busy US deal market saw rainmakers pack a bigger punch than ever at the world’s largest law firms but the contest remains tough for aspiring firms. Legal Business separates the champs from the contenders.
Linklaters managing partner Simon Davies chooses his words carefully when describing his partnership’s feelings on the City giant’s performance in 2014/15: ‘they appear content’. The Magic Circle collectively went into the financial year with considerable hopes of rekindling their momentum after a long grind through the post-banking crisis wilderness.
WHITTAKER STEPS DOWN AS LLOYDS GC
Group general counsel (GC) Andrew Whittaker is stepping down from his role at Lloyds Banking Group with deputy GC Kate Cheetham set to replace him. Whittaker joined the bank in May 2013 after having served as the legal head of the Financial Services Authority. The bank also saw the departure of disputes chief Philippa Simmons last month and began a redundancy consultation looking at cutting up to 25 mid-level positions.
US firm revenues continue to come through with Kirkland & Ellis posting a 6.6% increase in global revenues to $2.15bn in 2014, an increase from the previous year when turnover rose 4% to $2.02bn. Meanwhile, Squire Patton Boggs posted its first post-merger global revenues, coming in at $870.5m with $163m of this generated in the UK.
US results: Shearman sees solid City growth but US stalls after rebound year; Gibson surpasses $3m PEP
Following a rollercoaster ride over the past few years, Shearman & Sterling has unveiled financial results showing moderate but steady growth in 2014 as profit per equity partner (PEP) rose 5.8% on 3% turnover growth. Meanwhile, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher had its 19th year of consecutive revenue increases with a 6% lift to $1.47bn.
Latham & Watkins‘ global strategy has paid off with its 2014 revenues surging by 14% to $2.61bn in 2014 and making it the largest law firm in the world, an achievement managing partner Bill Voge (pictured) puts down to the recovery of the global M&A market and to clients increasingly using multiple offices across its ‘global footprint’.
US financials 2014: Baker Botts grows revenues 11% as turnover picks-up at Dechert, McDermott and Goodwin Procter
Following Weil Gotshal & Manges’ impressive profit increase, other US firm numbers continue to paint a positive picture Stateside with Baker Botts recording 11% revenue growth while Dechert, Goodwin Procter and McDermott Will & Emery all see increased turnover.
The LB100’s regional players have seen starkly divided fortunes with the South West players sailing ahead while northern firms face choppy waters
Collectively, the 29 regional firms in the second half of the Legal Business 100 (LB100) trail in the wake of other peer groups. While average revenue is £38.4m, a little below the £39m of the second 50 as a whole, revenue per lawyer (RPL) is 9% lower than the average for firms ranked 51-100. In terms of profits, average profit per lawyer (PPL) is £45,000, some 10% lower than the bottom 50 average, while profit per equity partner (PEP) is £309,000. Continue reading “The Second 50 – Batten Down”
They say averages lie, though in my experience not as much as people, but producing an annual report with 2,000 data points as we do with this month’s LB100 means it can be hard even for professional anoraks such as myself to find the nuggets of meaning in the thickets of information.
Well, when in doubt I start with the market leaders, so I dug up the numbers on London’s big four in their peak of 2008 to compare against this year’s results to see how they have changed. Continue reading “Converging on boom-time profits without a boom – the big four now and then”
Consolidating firms are jostling for position in the race to dominate international and UK markets. But even amid fairer conditions, the course to victory is uncertain.
‘To reach a port we must set sail –
Sail, not tie at anchor
Sail, not drift.’
Franklin D Roosevelt, 1938
‘One feels from the body language out there that firms which have come through the recession successfully are beginning to unwind, beginning to stretch a bit, beginning to feel as though more business is coming back – particularly in the corporate market. The corporate partners who had to lay low for some years are starting to unfurl their wings a little bit and ruffle their feathers.’