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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer saw its revenue grow by 7.2 per cent to £1.221bn in 2012/13 alongside increases in its average profit per equity partner (PEP) and net profit.
Turnover bounced up from £1.139bn in 2011/12 to £1.221bn this year. This is the first substantial rise in revenue for the firm since 2008/09 when it jumped up by 9 per cent to £1.287bn. The following year, in 2009/10, turnover dropped by 11 per cent to £1.14bn and has since has remained relatively flat.
PEP rose by 7.6 per cent from £1.229m last year to £1.398m in 2012/13. The figure is a sea change for the firm, which has seen its PEP decrease every year since 2008/09 when it held steady on the 2007/08 figure of £1.44m.
Freshfields’ net profit also returned to its highest point since 2008/09, hitting £548m, an increase of 2.4 per cent on its figure of £535m last year (6 July 2012).
Freshfields’ managing partner Will Lawes said: “For a firm of our size, it’s about making sure we pick up on demand and ensure that we’re all being kept busy. We’re as nimble and flexible as possible to ensure we can adapt to changing client demand.”
The past year has seen substantial growth in two of the firm’s strategic areas for growth – Asia and the US. In September 2012, Freshfields re-opened in Singapore, after withdrawing from the city state in 2006. The new office will focus on corporate, arbitration and finance work (12 September 2012).
“We’re pleased with that,” added Lawes. “It’s a hub for South East Asia.”
The firm has also been bolstering its litigation offering in the US, now a 16-partner team. In 2012/13 Freshfields made up 14 partners internally and hired seven new lateral hires in its strategic growth areas. These included former US Department of Justice criminal division head Matthew Friedrich in Washington DC, who joined in April 2013.
In the same month Tim Mak joined the firm’s dispute resolution practice in Hong Kong (22 April), while the firm made a rare lateral hire in London with Tim Pick. The former head of project development and finance at Shearman & Sterling joined to boost the firm’s energy and natural resources offering in Emea (16 April).
Despite instructing a headhunter to seek out potential hires in Australia in October 2012, Lawes insisted that the firm has “no current plans” to open in the region.