A&O to be “most successful” elite firm

Allen & Overy senior partner David Morley has vowed to make A&O the most successful in the world, the firm’s 2008 annual report reveals.


A&O to be “most successful” elite firmAllen & Overy (A&O) senior partner David Morley has vowed to make A&O the most successful in the world, the firm’s 2008 annual report reveals.

The annual review, published today, articulates a strategy in which Morley says he sees the firm “becoming the most successful of the emerging global elite of law firms”, and which centres on strong international expansion and achieving boardroom adviser status to corporate clients, helped by the reputation of its finance practice and by growth in litigation (as reported by The Lawyer, 1 September).

Internationally, the firm will focus particularly on expansion in New York and on “significantly” growing revenues in emerging markets while taking on a “leading market position in all practice areas in Europe and other developed markets”.

The report reveals that A&O has invested £100m in its global growth over five years, including more than £25m in the last year alone.

In 2007-08 the firm claimed a cumulative return on its investment of 10 per cent, down from 14 per cent in 2006-07.

The financial year 2005-06 was the first in which the firm saw a return on its global investments – of around 5 per cent.

The annual report also contains basic information on corporate social responsibility (CSR), similar to that of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (The Lawyer, 30 January) or Clifford Chance (The Lawyer today).

According to the figures, the average age of an A&O partner is 44, with associates 33 years old on average and support staff 36.

Lawyers and partners are reported to have taken an average of 2.1 sick days per year, with professional support staff taking an average 6.0 sick days per year.

In line with the statistics at other firms, only 16 per cent of partners are women, compared to around half of lawyers and 74 per cent of support staff. Ethnic minorities make up only 6 per cent of the partnership but 19 per cent of lawyers.

On the pro bono side, the total value of lawyers’ hours spent on pro bono work was £16.6m – an increase of 21 per cent and significantly higher than the £3.11m reported by Freshfields and almost level with Clifford Chance, where staff were reported to have billed £18.61m in pro bono work in the past year.

The carbon footprint per member of staff for the 2007 calendar year was 4.6 tonnes (audited by Environ UK). The firm is aiming for a reduction of 2.5 per cent by 2009.