Dechert posts positive financial results for 2011

Dechert has posted a 3.5 per cent increase in revenue for the 2011 financial year, with total turnover growing to $671m.

The US firm, which has recently been on a hiring spree in London and across Europe, also saw revenue per lawyer grow by 4.7 per cent to $900,000 and average profit per equity partner increase by 5 per cent to $2.11m.

Dechert chief executive officer Daniel O’Donnell said he was, “very pleased” with the way 2011 turned out for the firm.

In particular, O’Donnell pointed to an increase in cross-border mandates at Dechert, a trend powered by the firm’s spate of lateral acquisitions in a number of offices.

Recent hires have included Linklaters partner Marianne Schaffner and a team of associates in Paris, which saw the launch of an IP team in France (23 January 2012); two new partners in Germany which saw Dechert open an office in Frankfurt (17 January 2012); and a string of partners in London from DLA Piper including the firm’s head of trade and government relations Miriam Gonzalez (25 October 2011).

“We’ve set as a very high priority a target of increasing the proportion of our work that is cross-border,” said O’Donnell.

Dechert’s CEO pointed to several major deals last year that featured a significant European component, including Pepsi’s $3.8bn acquisition of Russian food business Wimm-Bill-Dann and Kerry Group’s acquisition of Cargill’s global flavours business for $230m, a deal handled by Dechert’s lawyers in London, Paris and Dublin.

“Our Dublin office is very focused on financial services but this was a straight M&A deal,” added O’Donnell. “I certainly think that the fact that we are now in Ireland helped. We also saw a real pick up in activity in Moscow, mostly in the corporate group.”

O’Donnell said other practices that performed well last year included litigation, where revenues from the white collar fraud, investigations and international arbitration groups as a whole rose by around 15 per cent.

“International arbitration was probably up more than 15 per cent,” O’Donnell added.

As well as adding overseas lawyers last year – Dechert now has around a third of its lawyers outside the US – it added two new practice groups.

The firm bolted on an outsourcing and offshoring practice following the hire of former Morgan Stanley’s global head of workforce strategy and solutions Vivian Maese in New York. It also launched a data protection and privacy group utilising internal resources in its IP and IT practice groups.

“In the future we’d like to see our growth evenly split between organically and via lateral hires,” said O’Donnell. “But then, you never get it exactly right.”