Ashurst’s and Norton Rose’s Middle East role reversal

Ashurst‘s raid on Norton Rose‘s crumbling Middle East practice illustrates perfectly two firms moving in opposite directions.

Last year Ashurst overtook Norton Rose in The Lawyer UK 100 for the first time, with its revenue reaching £214m compared with Norton Rose’s £210m.

Scroll back five years and the firms had roughly comparable profit per equity partner figures. Ashurst was ahead with £600,000 while Norton Rose reaped in a more than respectable £520,000 per partner.

The latter figure has now slumped to just £445,00 at Norton Rose, while Ashurst broke £700,000 last year.

A Norton Rose partner was recently overheard saying that the firm had “turned a corner”. When asked for evidence of this, he wasn’t too coherent. Maybe the firm has turned a corner, but in the Middle East at least, it looks as if it’s slammed straight into a brick wall.