Despite the continuing softness in some of its transactional areas, media and entertainment-focused Harbottle & Lewis had a solid 2009-10.
Turnover was all but flat at £16.8m, while net profit was £4.5m, or £261,000 per equity partner. The firm’s equity spread ran from £114,000 to £345,000. While the firm has grown less aggressively over the years than some of its key rivals, such as Olswang, managing partner Glen Atchison believes the current downturn is presenting an opportunity to grab more of the media land mass.
“Certainly some firms have publicly turned away from the media sector,” says Atchison. “We believe that our emphasis on quality and continued focus on the sector is creating the chance to bring in some heavyweight talent.”
And it’s not just media. Among Harbottle’s recent hires are litigators Daniel and Leon Marks, who joined in the firm in January from Finers Stephens Innocent. The arrival of this father-and-son personal injury team amounted to a new practice area launch for Harbottles. In fact litigation, which generated 32 per cent of total revenue, was Harbottle’s biggest driver last year. It was boosted by high-profile cases such as the firm’s client Joltid’s well-publicised litigation with Skype and Gillian Switalski’s even higher-profile discrimination case against F&C Asset Management.
Harbottle’s privacy team hasn’t been short of high-profile work recently either. Clients include the Queen and Kate Middleton, with much of the work handled by partner Gerrard Tyrrell. The recently launched family department was also busy during the past year.
Harbottle is continuing its successful drive, launched two years ago with the appointment of chief operating officer Derek Godfrey, formerly of PwC and Eversheds, to improve billings and collections.
Managing partner: Glen Atchison Number of partners: 28 Number of equity partners: 18 Number of lawyers: 72 Number of fee-earners: 88 Number of offices: One Location: London Main practice areas: Corporate and commercial, employment, family, litigation, media, private client, property Clients: Diageo, England cricket team, Kate Moss, 19 Management, the Queen, Universal Group, Virgin Group