Field Fisher Waterhouse
UK 200 position: 37
Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW) had a disappointing 2011–12, something the firm itself would acknowledge. Total revenue rose 4 per cent from £94m to £97.6m, but average profit per equity partner (PEP) plummeted 20 per cent from £510,000 to £410,000. Average earnings per partner dropped 11 per cent from £275,000 in 2010–11 to £245,000 this year.
It was a decidedly turbulent time to negotiate a merger with Lawrence Graham, with the talks eventually abandoned in early summer. In November 2012 the firm also announced that its merger talks with Osborne Clarke had ceased after the two firms failed to agree a £200m combination.
One of the reasons for the firm’s tough year was the downturn in the volume of public sector work available, previously a major focus for FFW. It moved to address the public sector issue by making two London lawyers and, separately, a team of lawyers and paralegals on fixed-term contracts redundant in the group at the turn of the year in 2011-12. It also removed the public sector from a new roster of five industry groups: energy and natural resources; financial institutions; hotel, retail and leisure; TMT; and life sciences and healthcare.
Elsewhere, revenue outside the UK has soared from nothing in 2009 to 20 per cent in 2012, with further office openings likely soon.
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