Dentons targets top clients to thwart profit slowdown

Denton Wilde Sapte is targeting top clients including Virgin, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Shell and London Electricity for more work as part of a firmwide review to raise profits. It is also pushing departmental heads to raise group profits any way they can after a disappointing financial year.
In 2001/02, Dentons' profits per partner rose by a modest 2 per cent to £336,000 per year. Mid-tier rival CMS Cameron McKenna's average profits per partner this year stand at a respectable £438,000, up six per cent from £412,000.
According to Dentons chairman James Dallas, partners at the firm have recently been on a weekend retreat to discuss ways of raising profitability. Squeezing more work out of key clients emerged as the way forward.
Partners at the firm are now analysing their client relationships.
A working party is to come up with a list of the top 10 or 20 clients to focus on.
One reason the firm's top clients can be targeted for more work is that they operate legal panels. Dallas said: “Most big clients have panels, but some who use us don't use us across the board. This is something we can work on.”
RBS, for example, invites firms on its panel to compete for transactions on a regular basis. Dentons regularly competes for the same RBS work as Clifford Chance and Allen & Overy.
Dallas said that Dentons partners need to exploit client relationships more and use innovative billing schemes.