Lovells struggles at six-month mark

Lovells has had a disappointing start to 2006-07, reporting a modest 4 per cent increase in turnover for the first six months of the financial year.

Revenue at the top 10 City firm inched up to approximately £205m. However, Lovells’ London office posted flat half-year results for the first half of the financial year.

Lovells managing partner David Harris admitted that Lovells has “seen a different picture” to other firms.

“Our results don’t look as good as other firms’,” he said. “One has to be realistic about what’s achievable because we’ve lost a lot of people.”

The results come on the back of 2 per cent growth in London during the last financial year and against the backdrop of a booming corporate market.

Lovells’ finance group recorded the strongest performance of all the firm’s practice areas, reporting a jump in turnover of more than 25 per cent. The corporate practice, however, experienced a slight dip in revenue, partly as a result of the departure of the firm’s private equity practice to Weil Gotshal & Manges last May.

Harris conceded that Lovells needs to improve the performance of its corporate practice.

The only other firm to achieve anything less than double-digit growth is Hammonds, where revenue remained static. Both firms have suffered an exodus of partners during the past year.

Lovells’ notable departees include: Marco Compagnoni, who led his private equity team to Weil; fellow private equity partner Derek Baird, who went to Allen & Overy, along with IP partner Nicola Dagg; head of EU and competition John Pheasant, who joined Hogan & Hartson; disputes chief Andrew Foyle, who moved to One Essex Court; and retiring Milan managing partner Paolo Criscione. The firm is also closing its Berlin office.