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In the video interview, Angel noted that for the firm to achieve its global ambition, it needs to be in a lot more places and a lot stronger in some practice areas. He emphasised that Asia was a key region where the firm knows it needs to be bigger.
But when Angel said “bigger”, does he mean bulking up or skilling up? If it’s the latter then the recent stream of partner exits in its Asia Pacific offices, including most recently the three partner departures in Australia and Hong Kong, suggests there is still plenty of work to be done.
Earlier this year, The Lawyer reported that DLA Piper was going through a regional shake-up in Asia Pacific, following former UK head Andrew Darwin’s relocation to Australia as country managing partner and former EMEA finance and projects group head Bob Charlton’s relocation to Hong Kong as Asia Pacific managing director.
According to The Lawyer Asia Pacific 150, DLA Piper is the region’s fifth-largest firm by lawyer headcount. However, in 2011/12, the firm’s revenue in the region was $313.5m, just under half of what Baker & McKenzie turned over in the same year ($648m).
So whatever reasons for the partner departures in Asia might be, it seems DLA Piper needs to take some tough measures to up its game there, particularly in terms of revenue and profitability.