The Lawyer Asia Pacific 150 is the only research report to provide a ranking of the top 100 independent local firms and top 50 global firms in the region. The report offers critical review of some of the fastest growing firms and their strategies, a country-by-country guide to leading legal advisers and legal services market trends, plus exclusive insight into the current business development opportunities in the Asia Pacific. Read more
This year, The Lawyer’s annual ranking of the largest UK law firms by turnover is available as an interactive, digital benchmarking tool. For the first time this will allow you to manipulate each data set against the metrics of your choice.
Are deals back? You might not think so from reading this week’s feature on public M&A fees. They’re down by 3 per cent compared with the same period last year, and 35 per cent compared with the previous six months. But statistics don’t tell you everything.
Of course, deals never truly went away, and there are pockets that are, anecdotally at least, firing with all guns blazing. One major US firm’s London office is claiming a 125 per cent utilisation rate in its corporate group, while deals partners across London are talking up the return of transactions.
True, when it comes to public M&A the volume still isn’t there, but deals junkies are touching wood that when the big deals do come the smaller ones will follow. And firms are hiring accordingly.
Which brings us to private equity, a buoyant sector where recent partner hiring activity has bordered on the frenetic. It has been a major focus for several of the City’s top practices in recent months, regardless of whether the firms concerned are US or UK-headquartered. In the corporate world, private equity has become a driver – and in London it’s a Ferrari 458.
In particular, US firms have been aggressively investing, while the magic circle are struggling to hang on to their stars. Clifford Chance has lost several partners to Latham while, in contrast, Allen & Overy (A&O) provided one of the rare examples of a top-tier partner (Ashurt’s Stephen Lloyd) choosing UK cream over US muscle.
With Clifford Chance and A&O breaking cover early on the magic circle’s 2013/14 financial results it’s tempting to draw comparisons between the two firms. So I will.
Clifford Chance – long seen as the poor relation, with higher revenues but lower profits – scored a big hit when it overtook A&O on PEP, posting a 16 per cent rise, from £1m to £1.14m.
In contrast, A&O – which in 2012/13 was overtaken by Freshfields as the smallest of the big four in terms of fee income – now has a PEP of £1.12m. So where does this leave it in the war for talent?
Absolutely fine, apparently. As the firm’s finance director Jason Haines pointed out last week in our Friday leadership interview, it regards top-of-equity (now £1.67m – up from £1.56m), not PEP as the key metric in terms of recruiting.
You can buy a lot of talent with that. Even a Ferrari.