Law Firm of the Year
The most outstanding UK law firms, either offshore or onshore, of the last 12 months make the shortlist in this, our most prestigious award. Judges will be looking for firms that have taken the market by storm and have achieved more than their direct competitors and peers. Achievements may include the successful development of new practice areas, expansion into new international or domestic markets, new client wins, the completion of a strategic merger or acquisition, improved financial performance, or a successful recruitment policy.
Pinsents is no slouch in financial performance terms – in the last five years revenue has grown 40% and profit by 60% – but it is committed to be judged by a broader set of yardsticks. This is why in the last 12 months it has renewed its sole adviser mandates with key clients Balfour Beatty and E.ON, and achieved a 93% ‘likeliness to recommend’ score in an independently run client feedback programme.
Kirkland & Ellis - HIGHLY COMMENDED
David Higgins, Stephen Lucas
Kirkland has set the pace on both sides of the Atlantic, becoming the highest grossing law firm in the world. In 2018 the firm continued its remarkable run, not least in London which saw a bumper partner promotion round and the lateral hire of Adrian Maguire from Freshfields, a year after its market-defining move for David Higgins.
In 2017/18, CC emerged as the strongest-performing Magic Circle firm in the LB100. The only firm among London’s big four to have retained its position in the LB100 table, Clifford Chance added £83m to its top line to hit £1.623bn. But it was the 16% surge in profit per equity partner (PEP) to £1.6m where CC edged ahead of its rivals.
Harbottle & Lewis
Harbottle maintained its status as one of London’s fastest-growing law firms, continuing its recent trend of double-digit growth and proving itself as a LB100 standout. Overall revenue increased by 26% to £35.5m, up from £28.1m last year, while PEP increased by 32% to £670,000. Over the last five years, the firm has seen revenues grow 48% and profit by 86%.
Another standout performance came from Macfarlanes in 2018, which broke the £200m barrier after a remarkable 20% uptick in turnover to £201.5m. The firm also cemented its position as one of the most profitable operators in the Square Mile, increasing PEP by 26% to £1.74m, higher than most of the Magic Circle.
Simmons & Simmons
Simmons turned in its strongest set of results since the banking crisis, hiking revenues 12% to £354m. Amid a year of sustained foreign expansion into Dublin and Luxembourg in particular, the firm also saw PEP grow 8% to £686,000. This organic revenue growth was higher than anticipated and due to high demand in its core sectors of funds, financial institutions, healthcare and life sciences and TMT – proof that Simmons has its playbook right.