The Lawyer’s new China Elite report contains the most detailed research available on the PRC legal market and contains unparalleled insight into the country's leading law firms. They vary in size, practice focus and geographic coverage, but they all share one common quality – ambition... 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.
SJ Berwin remains committed to securing a transatlantic merger as the dust settles on its failed attempt to pair up with Proskauer Rose last year.
Protracted talks with the US firm fell through last November due to a mismatch of profit figures. But last week the UK firm announced a 40 per cent increase in average profit per equity partner (PEP) and a 5 per cent revenue hike - figures that show a strong recovery following two years of decreases in turnover. In 2008-09 the firm’s PEP declined by 50 per cent.
SJ Berwin managing partner Rob Day said a merger was the only way to branch out into the US, adding that he frequently receives enquiries from potential suitors. The issue was on the agenda at a recent weekend conference of partners.
Day told The Lawyer: “We still think the direction of travel of law as a whole is towards strong multinational businesses. Joining strength in Europe with strength in the US makes sense. Accessing the US is a merger-only option. We reviewed that at the partner weekend. We’ve got to get it right and at the right time.”
Day added that the firm will avoid jumping into a deal before it has had time for its financials to stabilise.
“The Proskauer discussions concluded in November,” he said, “and since then we’ve had a great set of results. The environment feels different now. Our feeling is that we still need a period of stabilisation. We’d like to [merge with a US firm], but we’re not going to go straight back into it.”