Ashurst has continued to rake in the lion’s share of legal fees on the development of the Crossrail network, with earnings of £2.4m during the last financial year.
Of the £4.03m Crossrail paid for its legal advice over the 2014/15 financial year Ashurst’s share was over 60 per cent. Global head of energy, transport and infrastructure Mark Elsey is leading the Ashurst team during the project while director of legal services Mark Fell is heading up Crossrail’s in-house team.
In the previous five years, the firm had earned £9.5m from the project, meaning its total Crossrail fees have now soared to almost £12m.
The remaining 40 per cent of the legal fees last year was split between seven firms. Eversheds was the next biggest earner after being paid £520,000 while Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co received £400,000 and Herbert Smith Freehills was paid £340,000.
Cripps and Winckworth Sherwood received £170,000 and £108,750 respectively.
The lowest earner during the 2014/15 financial year was Linklaters which received £73,500, or 1.8 per cent, of Crossrail’s legal fees. Linklaters and Winckworth Sherwood are not believed to be part of Crossrail’s legal panel, which includes the other five firms.
Historically Ashurst has been Crossrail’s advisor of choice and in 2010 was selected to advise the transport company on the procurement of rolling stock and the construction of a depot.
In February 2014 Ashurst picked up a mandate to advise Crossrail on its decision to award a £1bn contract to Bombardier UK. The deal saw Bombardier pick up the contract to provide Crossrail with 65 trains for its services.
Last year Ashurst’s turnover fell by 4.5 per cent, from £586m to £561m. Average profit per equity partner also dropped by 6.7 per cent to £747,000 from £801,000.
The Crossrail network will run from Reading to Shenfield and the service is due to launch in 2018.
For more on Crossrail and the UK’s other major infrastructure projects, see this week’s cover story, asking is the Government’s infrastructure pledge as radical as it seems?