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.
In the last 18 months, this pace-setting firm has completed four strategic mergers in Italy, Netherlands, China and Birmingham. This is reflected by steady growth in recent years and a 36% increase in revenue in 2016/17 to £165m – the largest growth of any law firm in the Legal Business 100. The firm also completed a striking 22 lateral hires during the last financial year.
Stewarts Law - HIGHLY COMMENDED
The UK’s largest litigation-only firm posted its third consecutive period of double-digit growth. The firm had a record year in 2016/17 with turnover rising 25% to £77.9m and PEP climbing 19% to £1.9m, seeing it move into the top half of the LB100 for the first time. It is one of the fastest-growing players organically in the UK legal market since 2012, with revenue growing 123%.
Allen & Overy
In 2016/17, Allen & Overy blew its closest rivals away with a 25% rise in PEP, which jumped from £1.21m to £1.51m, while revenue saw a 16% increase to £1.52bn from £1.31bn. It is now the second-largest Magic Circle firm in revenue terms and made some significant investment in its partnership, in particular boosting its IP practice in Europe and making several lockstep-breaking hires in the US, bringing in a five-lawyer finance team in particular.
Clyde & Co
Clydes has achieved compound average annual revenue growth of 12% over the last five years, making it one of the fastest-growing firms in the world. In the most recent financial year, the firm increased revenue by 14% to £508m and is now ranked 61 in the world, after being outside the top 100 as recently as 2011. It has successfully transformed from a mid-tier City firm to a global powerhouse.
One of only three firms in the current UK top 100 to have more than doubled its revenue organically since 2012, OC turned over £209m in 2016/17, one of the strongest set of results in the UK top 100 this year and 152% up on a decade ago, good for the fifth-best organic performance of an LB100 firm since 2007.
Watson Farley & Williams
Chris Lowe, Lothar Wegener
WFW is another firm that has seized on opportunities and reinvented itself as a thrusting player in a hugely competitive market. Despite a period of heavy investment in people and infrastructure, the firm has nevertheless seen revenue increase 36% from £117m for the financial year ending 2013/14 to £159.8m for 2016/17, and profits per equity partner increase 28% during the same period.