UK’s top thirty lose £1bn in revenues to strengthening US elite

The rise of the US firms continued within the London market during the last financial year, with the top 30 US firms depriving their UK rivals of total revenues amounting to £1bn.


The rise of the US firms continued within the London market during the last financial year, with the top 30 US firms depriving their UK rivals of total revenues amounting to £1bn.

The top 30 international firms in London – all originating from the US – increased their overall combined turnover by 11 per cent to report a total revenue figure of £1bn, up from just under £900m during 2003-04.

While this still fell far short of the total revenues generated by the UK’s top 30 of £7.3bn, the US firms are looking increasingly tempting for lateral partner hires.

The top 30 international firms posted an average profit per equity partner (PEP) figure of £789,900 during the last financial year, compared with an average of just £493,000 within the UK’s top 30.

Baker & McKenzie (B&M) continued to lead the pack on revenues, holding its spot at the helm for the fourth year in a row after the London office reported a 9.5 per cent increase in turnover to £92m for 2004-05.

The growth means B&M now generates enough revenue to compete with the top 30 UK firms on their own turf. At the same time, the firm pulled further ahead from its nearest rival Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw, which reported a stable turnover of £79m.

Latham & Watkins was the biggest mover within the top 10, jumping two spots to rank third following a staggering 40 per cent increase in its London turnover to £70m.

Meanwhile, Sidley Austin Brown & Wood was the surprise addition to the top 10, entering the table in tenth place with a turnover of £42m. This came at the expense of Dechert, which dropped to eleventh place following a dip in revenue to £39.5m.

Top 10 UK performances by international firms
Rank Firm UK gross fees (£m) Global gross fees (£m) UK PEP (£K) Global PEP (£K) UK lawyers Global lawyers UK equity partners Global equity partners
1 Baker & McKenzie 92.0 707.0 445 375 241 2,648 56 614
2 Mayer Brown 79.0 496.6 430 493 230 1,283 60 438
3 Latham & Watkins 70.0 658.4 765 765 85 1,592 24 495
4 Shearman & Sterling 58.7 422.0 791 628 126 963 25 207
5 White & Case 55.7 520.2 546 667 199 1,894 33 247
6= Weil Gotshal & Manges 52.0 494.0 820 928 104 1,200 10 184
6= Jones Day 52.0 666.0 544 401 117 2,076 37 561
8 Sullivan & Cromwell 46.0 454.7 1,420 1,280 49 589 16 156
9 Skadden Arps Slate 43.0 807.0 1,000 972 78 1,750 16 377
10 Sidley Austin 42.0 562.0 497 557 99 1546 31 577