A&O places litigation at heart of global strategy

Magic circle firm Allen & Overy is putting ­litigation growth at the ­centre of its global strategy, aiming to increase the practice’s contribution to global revenue by 50 per cent over the next four years.

A&O places litigation at heart of global strategyMagic circle firm Allen & Overy (A&O) is putting ­litigation growth at the ­centre of its global strategy and is aiming to increase the practice’s contribution to global revenue by 50 per cent over the next four years.

Litigation currently accounts for 10 per cent of total turnover, the equivalent of £100m in 2007-08, but the intention is to increase that share to 15 per cent before global litigation head Tim House’s current term comes to an end.

House (pictured) told The Lawyer: “The plan is to move the ­litigation practice forward so that it’s a greater component of the global practice of the firm.”

A global litigation steering group chaired by House has been formed to drive the growth and will focus on leveraging international work in IP, antitrust, white-collar crime and regulatory investigations, such as ­corruption and bribery.

Entrenching litigation as a core business of the firm is also seen to be crucial to developing and managing client relationships.

Senior partner David Morley said: “Litigators are some of our most versatile lawyers and some of the best at managing large, complex client relationships because of the breadth of their ­experience and knowledge.”

House added: “Litigation is obviously a central concern to the general counsel and chief executives of all of our major clients and ­[litigators are] therefore essential to the management of those relationships.”

House said he expects several factors to contribute to an upsurge in litigation. These include an IP boom resulting from the increasing geographical dislocation between the design and ­production of products, a rise in shareholder activism and globalised transactions serving to increase cultural regulatory tensions and the need for arbitration.

He added that the global downturn would also reduce the likelihood of parties ­settling disputes and trigger tighter regulation in the financial services sector.

The litigation push has the backing of A&O’s other practice areas.

A&O global board ­member and capital ­markets partner Boyan Wells said: “We always try to make sure that our ­litigators are very close to our clients. There are going to be very high-profile cases for many institutions, and certainly in the US it would be a foolish institution that didn’t take this seriously.”