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The first set of corporate law firm financial results are looking strong

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11

Good times return to the City

It’s corporate law firm financial results season — and the early signs for the year are very positive.

Of the 12 major corporate law firms to have released their results so far, all have posted a rise in revenue while those that released profit per equity partner (PEP) figures have reported increases too.

Leading the way in the revenue rise table is CMS, with a whopping 31% increase to £1.3 billion, followed by Fieldfisher, which is up 24% to £207 million, and Dentons UKMEA, up by 22% to £203.1 million. While these turnover boosts have been significantly aided by mergers — CMS with Nabarro and Olswang, Fieldfisher with Hill Hofstetter, and Dentons with Maclay Murray & Spens — the performance of other firms suggests the increases are about more than that.

Osborne Clarke, for example, has seen revenue jump by 14%, while Simmons & Simmons and Taylor Wessing are both up by 12%. Meanwhile, TLT, Browne Jacobson, Winckworth Sherwood, Pinsent Masons and Ashurst have seen turnover rises of, respectively, 10%, 9%, 8.5%, 6% and 4%.

The strongest performers for PEP increases so far have been Dentons, with a 36% jump to £651,000, Taylor Wessing, which rocketed by 20% to £579,000. There were impressive increases, too, at CMS (19%), Fieldfisher (17%), Eversheds Sutherland (12%) and Ashurst (11%).

The figures reflect the wave of growth that swept across the globe during 2017, and which the President Trump tax cuts at the beginning of this year may extend — if the accompanying protectionist policies being pursued by the US don’t negate their effect.

But the improvement of law firms’ overall fortunes come at a time of uncertainty for students seeking to enter the legal profession. Legal Cheek reported in the autumn that training contracts at the leading corporate law firms fell by 5% last year, while the latest Law Society Annual Statistical Report showed training contract numbers across the profession as a whole to have fallen back slightly. On the rise have been law firm investment in technology, and a growing reluctance among clients to pay for trainees’ time.

Still, with 5,719 students beginning training contracts last year — down from a 2008 high of 6,303 but up from a financial crisis low of 4,784 — the legal profession remains a pretty healthy place for graduates.

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11 Comments

Anonymous

Powerful financial analysis there, Alex.

(3)(2)

Anonymous

It won’t get much better than this. Trade wars etc on the way. Training contracts will hold up tho. What no one talks about is the low standard of most paralegals.

(0)(6)

Anonymous

Ok

(8)(0)

Anonymous

Let’s use this otherwise pointless thread to report salary and bonus updates – who wants to start?

(1)(5)

IM Associate

Salary – my one biscuit a year is now only mouldy, not mouldy and soggy

Bonus – a button.

(6)(0)

JD Partner

“future lawyers need to be open-minded and flexible”

I fully agree. I insist all my trainees have these attributes.

(19)(0)

JD Partner

It’s whats required these days for a “strong performance”!

(3)(0)

Steven Seagull

Need to be very open to trying new things and a good team player.

(2)(0)

loljkm8

I’m curious, why is a 36% increase described as a “jump”, 31% increase described as being “whopping” and a 20% increase described a having “rocketed”?

lol

(16)(0)

Anonymous

Because the writers at LC are a bumch of hacks with no journalistic talent whatsoever?

(8)(0)

Anonymous

Given the healthy financial results, it would be fair to ask partners to share some of the spoils with their associates… the gap in pay between mc and top us law firm is currently quite demoralising

(2)(0)

Comments are closed.

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