Clyde-ranging vision

Like moving around at the drop of a hat? Get a job at Clyde & Co

When you are in charge of a firm that has seen rapid international growth through partner hires and acquisitions, keeping control is vital. This is something Clyde & Co CEO Peter Hasson recognised years ago, telling The Lawyer in 2009: “The business needs to be managed in a different way.”

Since then the firm has launched five offices, pulled off the mammoth takeover of Barlow Lyde & Gilbert (BLG) and sealed 10 new associations. Last week it secured a licence to allow it to operate in Libya from August.

In the past five years turnover has climbed by 75 per cent, from £157m to £287m, although that includes turnover from BLG.

When Clydes opens in Libya the office will be closely aligned with the firm’s Middle East network, which consists of four bases, including one in Riyadh.

Partner Ben Knowles says the firm is committed to achieving critical mass in the region, developing a team of high-level associates who will take over the reins from the current rainmakers when the time comes. A Middle East, North Africa desk has been set up in the London office and anyone who is doing work in the region from London belongs to it.

“We pull in people who’ve worked in the region,” Knowles explains.

The effect is twofold – partners working across a number of practice areas are more closely aligned and the firm can find appropriate lawyers to deploy to the region.

At the same time Clydes has reinforced its ranks by promoting six in the region in recent months. One, UAE-qualified Ben Cowling, is set to move to Riyadh from Dubai.

Of the past 40 promotions, nine have been in the Middle East – more than any other region.

There have also been some high-profile laterals. Abu Dhabi partner Adrian Creed joined in January from Trowers & Hamlins. He will split his time between there and Tripoli. And former DLA Piper partner Adrian Loe relocated from Kuwait to Dubai to join the firm.

The firm offers no bonuses to lawyers who are willing to move around its network, but it seems a willingness to move could boost prospects of partnership nicely.