Call it the curse of The Rising 50, but one of the firms that was profiled in The Lawyer’s new supplement last year has predicted that revenues this year will fall, not rise.
Dawsons, the 18-partner Lincoln’s Inn-based private client firm, is predicting a turnover drop from £9m to £8.5m after a restructuring last year saw five partners and four assistants leave for neighbouring firm Hunters.
Well, you can’t win ’em all. But what’s this? The firm’s affable managing partner Mathew Rea is also predicting a sharp increase in average profit this year, from the sub-£200,000 profit per equity partner to around £250,000 come April.
An influx of new blood, such as Eversheds’ Neil Morris last year and Berwin Leighton Paisner’s Wynne Thomas the year before, as well as a refreshed focus on new rather than old money, is making the firm a leaner operation in every way.
A prime example of less is more if ever there was one.
Dentons defectors emerge from under hat
The most surprising thing about Denton Wilde Sapte’s (DWS) contentious insurance group upping sticks for Chadbourne & Parke is not the exit of another five partners from the troubled firm – it’s how DWS managed to keep the departures under wraps for so long.
While three of the five partners tendered their resignations in mid-December, it was only last month that the departures came to light. One source close to DWS said the firm had gone into “damage limitation” mode – but, it seems, with limited success.
Indeed, The Lawyer understands that at least one banking partner has already quit the firm, and speculation is rife that the management is sitting on yet more resignations. If managing lawyers is like herding cats, new chief executive Howard Morris will have to be a veritable lion tamer.
Linklaters needs a break in Paris
In April The Lawyer will once again publish The Lawyer Euro 100, the definitive guide to the Continent’s largest firms. Linklaters will, of course, be up there once again as one of the juggernauts. But how it performs in one of the key European battlegrounds – Paris – is anybody’s guess.
The firm has just lost its well-regarded Paris leader, Jean-Marc Lefèvre, to a new European management role. Officially, Lefèvre is still France co-head, but realistically he will not have much time to spare for Paris.
The move comes just weeks after the defection of corporate partner Patrick Laporte to Debevoise & Plimpton in the French capital, which itself followed the losses of Basil Zotaides to Latham & Watkins and heavy hitter David Aknin to Weil Gotshal & Manges.
As The Lawyer Euro 100 reported last year, “the French capital is now in vogue for US firms”. No kidding. For Linklaters, much of last year’s £225m European (ie excluding London) turnover came from Germany. Time for new Linklaters Paris managing partner Thierry Vassogne, a corporate partner with a reputation as a big biller, to prove his worth.