Comment: Super growth or decline? Which firm are you?

Comment: Super growth or decline? Which firm are you?

Everyone knows the legal industry has been a different place since the banking crisis but it is only when you take the long view that you realise how dramatic these changes have been.

For this month’s cover feature, we looked at three mid-tier law firms that have sustained above-trend growth for ten years. To identify our trio we looked long term at the performance in the LB100, focused on organic growth. Our working assumption was that, while top firms dominated until the credit boom, in relative terms smaller practices excelled over the last ten years. It turned out we had underestimated just how wrenching that post-Lehman shift has been. Continue reading “Comment: Super growth or decline? Which firm are you?”

Super growth or decline? Which firm are you?

Super growth or decline? Which firm are you?

Everyone knows the legal industry has been a different place since the banking crisis but it is only when you take the long view that you realise how dramatic these changes have been.

For this month’s cover feature, we looked at three mid-tier law firms that have sustained above-trend growth for ten years. To identify our trio we looked long term at the performance in the LB100, focused on organic growth. Our working assumption was that, while top firms dominated until the credit boom, in relative terms smaller practices excelled over the last ten years. It turned out we had underestimated just how wrenching that post-Lehman shift has been. Continue reading “Super growth or decline? Which firm are you?”

Top 100 firms defy Brexit upheaval with confident performance in first quarter of 2017/18

Top 100 firms defy Brexit upheaval with confident performance in first quarter of 2017/18

A lack of clarity on the state of Brexit negotiations together with tougher macroeconomic conditions don’t seem to have impacted the UK top 100 law firms which posted an average 8.5% increase in fee income for the quarter ending July 2017.

Deloitte’s quarterly legal sector survey showed the growth was largely due to a 7% increase in fees-per-fee earner at the country’s top players. However, despite this top-line growth, the growth in chargeable hours per fee earner at the top ten UK law firms was lower at 3%. Continue reading “Top 100 firms defy Brexit upheaval with confident performance in first quarter of 2017/18”

Comment: Looking forward to Ashurst’s decline – The outlook worsens for a proud City institution

Comment: Looking forward to Ashurst’s decline – The outlook worsens for a proud City institution

You cannot change the past. Move forward. Be constructive. Focus on making things better. Pick your cliché. And, like most clichés, they are built on the basis of common sense… and can still sometimes be beside the point.

Continue reading “Comment: Looking forward to Ashurst’s decline – The outlook worsens for a proud City institution”

Going long: a ten-year view of the LB100

Going long: a ten-year view of the LB100

While headline figures for revenue, profit and headcount in this year’s LB100 confirm another year of subdued trading, a look at how the top 100 UK-based firms by revenue have performed overall since the halcyon, pre-credit crisis days of 2006 makes interesting viewing. Not least as they are testament to the inherent strength of the industry, despite the hurdles it has seemingly faced in ten years. We also look at 2011 as a five-year mid-point, the stage when the global financial crisis had started to ebb. Continue reading “Going long: a ten-year view of the LB100”

Comment: LB100 – Statistically speaking, you may not need a bigger boat

Comment: LB100 – Statistically speaking, you may not need a bigger boat

Last year, delivering our annual results issue, Legal Business remarked that the age of turbulence facing law firms since the 2008 banking crisis was far from over. And so it has proved. Despite all the talk of returning confidence, and clear evidence of recovery in the UK economy, it’s still choppy out there. Stripping out another year of consolidation, the numbers are a little better than 2013 but that’s about it.

Continue reading “Comment: LB100 – Statistically speaking, you may not need a bigger boat”

Converging on boom-time profits without a boom – the big four now and then

Converging on boom-time profits without a boom – the big four now and then

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”

LB100: The Second Quartile – Close Hauled

LB100: The Second Quartile – Close Hauled

It’s an unforgiving environment, but 2014 once again shows the well-captained mid-tier outfits sailing free.

‘I’m a great believer that you can always do better and however good a particular year was, you have to exceed that. And we are far from perfect.’ So says Simon Beswick, managing partner at Osborne Clarke (OC), one of the strongest performers in the Legal Business 100 (LB100) this year.

The Bristol-based firm saw turnover rise 26% in 2013/14 – the largest single increase in the LB100 – and has seen revenue rise by 69% since 2009.

Continue reading “LB100: The Second Quartile – Close Hauled”

LB100: The Second 50 – Ports and Storms

LB100: The Second 50 – Ports and Storms

As some seasoned campaigners of the second half of the LB100 prepare to move up a class through mergers, a few City-based specialists continue to defy the tide of consolidation.

Of the merger activity that has swept through the Legal Business 100 (LB100) this year, it is the mid-market City players and national heavyweights that occupy the second 50 of the LB100 that have been most affected.

Continue reading “LB100: The Second 50 – Ports and Storms”