Latham takes Bakers’ crown as number one firm on top 30 international firms ranking

Latham & Watkins has topped The Lawyer’s annual ranking of the 30 largest international firms in the UK by revenue for the first time, with UK revenue hitting an all-time high of $210.6m. 

Although Latham does not formally report its London office revenue, sources suggest that last year fee income in its UK operations grew by more than 6 per cent from $197.5m to $210.6m.

Last year’s revenue figure, at £128.5m when converted to sterling, puts Latham’s London office ahead of some of the UK’s largest law firms by revenue.

If Latham’s London office were mapped onto The Lawyer’s UK 200 Annual Report 2013 it would have beaten the majority of the top 100 by revenue, making it to number 24 on the list. That means the London office is now larger in revenue terms than Wragge & Co (£120.50m), Macfarlanes (£114.6m) and Osborne Clarke (£112.8m).  

“We’ve had another good year and continue to increase our share of a competitive market,” the firm said in a statement.

Latham’s revenue rise is a considerable recovery from its performance in 2009, when cost cutting saw the firm cull 190 associates and 250 paralegal and support staff globally. In London back then, 15 employees lost their jobs.    

Since 2008 the US firm’s laterals-driven strategy has seen its City revenue grow by 40 per cent, from $150m to $210.6m.

This year’s International Top 30 ranking also highlights several other notable changes.

Baker & McKenzie’s three-year run at the head of the table has ended, despite the fact that its UK revenue continued to rise last year. In the 12 months to 30 June 2013, Bakers’ most recent full financial year, the firm saw UK turnover rise from £129.1m ($199.1m) to £130.4m ($204.7m). Bakers slips to third in the rankings, behind Latham and White & Case, where revenues climbed by 4 per cent from $199m to $207m.

Australian-listed Slater & Gordon is included in this year’s top 30 list for the first time with a UK revenue of $65.1m following its acquisition of Russell Jones & Walker in January 2012 (30 January 2012).

Partner headcount across the international top 30 table has increased by 26 per cent since 2009, from 991 to 1,250, a rise mirrored by the increase in total revenue which has gone up 23 per cent over the same period, from $2.5bn to $3.08bn.  

The Lawyer’s International Top 30 focuses on the UK operations of firms that are headquartered overseas. The table does not include data for DLA Piper, Hogan Lovells or Dentons, which appear in the main UK 200 ranking.