A&O growth rate dips by 39 per cent

Allen & Overy’s growth rate has decreased by 39 per cent according to its 2008-09 half-year results.


A&O growth rate dips by 39 per centAllen & Overy’s (A&O) growth rate has decreased by 39 per cent according to its 2008-09 half-year results.

The firm, which is the first in the magic circle to post its ;figures, ;generated £548m of fees this half-year – an increase of 11 per cent on the same period last year, when the firm recorded growth of 18 per cent.

A&O managing partner Wim Dejonghe noted that, although the results were slightly ahead of the full-year budget, the firm is ­cautious about the future, saying: “I don’t think any industry will escape this and I think we’ll be hit as well.”

Nevertheless, he said the results were better than expected, with the proverbial flight to quality proving to be a boon for top firms.
“The difficult market pushes clients towards trusted advisers, and we’re obviously in that league,” he said.

He admitted that, while the Lehman collapse had generated large volumes of work for the firm in the short term, it was not enough to keep entire departments busy, adding: “We could be hit by the quiet before the storm or it could be the storm, before it becomes quiet.”

A&O’s half-year results are indicative of the performances of most legal industry sectors, where firms of all sizes have seen growth rates drop significantly.

At Pinsent Masons (TheLawyer.com, 7 November) and Denton Wilde Sapte (>6 November) too, growth rates dropped by 40 per cent as the firms ended up only 6 per cent up this half-year, compared with a 10 per cent half-year growth at the same time last year.

At Stephenson Harwood global growth rates have slowed even further, from 23 per cent last year to 4 per cent this year – a drop of 79 per cent (TheLawyer.com, 6 November).

The firm’s UK growth was static, as was the case at Nabarro, which failed to post any growth in turnover for the current half-year.