Management Team of the Year

Osborne Clarke

2nd place: Pannone & Partners
3rd place: Reed Smith Warner Cranston
Shortlisted: Allen & Overy, Bird & Bird, DLA
The winner of the Management Team of the Year Award, sponsored by TMP QD Legal, is Osborne Clarke. In one year, managing partner Leslie Perrin, senior partner Chris Curling and chief executive Chris Bull have led the firm to a 40 per cent increase in turnover, from £35m to £50m; taken over a London property boutique; opened in the US; and refocused European expansion, forgoing a German merger for mass lateral hiring.
Opening in Silicon Valley may have seemed like a whim, but its Californian outpost has already won clients and has become a natural extension of Osborne Clarke's European technology practice. The marketing of relationships with Californian firms has also brought in work. Osborne Clarke's positioning of itself as a gateway not just to UK but to European legal advice through its European alliance, looks astute.
In Germany, things were more operatic. When its German alliance began to look shaky, Osborne Clarke's management team acted decisively. It broke off ties and within a matter of weeks managed to woo many of its former alliance firm's partners into setting up a Cologne office to link up with its Frankfurt presence. The management has made it the only regional firm to make serious international expansion and it may even be the only regional firm people forget to call a regional firm.
In second place is Pannone & Partners, where managing partner Joy Kingsley heads a four-woman management team, which has taken the firm from its lean years in the mid-1990s to become a collegiate, full-service Manchester practice. Since becoming managing partner in 1995, Kingsley has increased turnover and profitability: profits are up by 60 per cent on last year – and that is without sacrificing the firm's commitment to PI and family work.
Third is the management team at Warner Cranston (now Reed Smith Warner Cranston) for pulling off a noteworthy transatlantic merger which will give the London arm the resources to expand into Europe.