Quinn Emanuel drops out of The Lawyer’s international top 30 ranking

Litigation powerhouse Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has dropped out of The Lawyer’s annual top 30 international firms in London table this year following the resolution of two of its largest cases during 2013 and a reduction in UK turnover of 28 per cent.

Richard East Sue Prevezer
London co-managing partners Richard East and Sue Prevezer QC

The London office of Quinn Emanuel saw total turnover drop by almost a third during the 2013 financial year, from £27.5m to £19.8m (5 March 2014).

The US firm continues to be among the most profitable in the London market, with an average profit per equity partner well in excess of £1m and a profit margin above 60 per cent.

Quinn Emanuel’s disappearance from the ranking of the largest international firms by revenue is one of the more significant changes in this year’s table. The firm has enjoyed a stellar rise through the rankings since its entry into the London market in 2008 (4 June 2008).

However last year its track record of year on year revenue growth came to an end largely as a result of the ending of several large cases including the £1bn court battle between Rusal chief executive Oleg Deripaska (Quinn Emanuel’s client) and businessman Michael Cherney, which settled in September 2012 (27 September 2012). The firm has also represented Derek Quinlan in the battle for the £1bn hotel group behind Claridge’s, in litigation against him and the Barclay brothers by Irish property developer Paddy McKillen (17 September 2012).

“These matters made up a substantial proportion of the London office’s revenue in 2012 and it is impossible to replace such significant matters overnight, especially given our relatively small scale in London,” said London co-managing partner Richard East. “However, during the course of 2013 we have picked up a number of major new instructions for clients both in commercial litigation and arbitration and are confident that 2014 will be a good year for London.

“We knew that 2013 would be a transitional year for us, but we feel we are in a uniquely strong position to capitalise on our investments in London in 2014 and we look forward to another year of growth.”

Quinn Emanuel’s exit from the main table also has an impact on the breakout rankings, notably revenue per lawyer (RPL).

Last year Quinn Emanuel sat at the top of the RPL table with a $1.8m figure. This year its top spot has been taken by Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, which has posted an average RPL of $1.52m for the 106 lawyers based in London.

If Quinn Emanuel had featured in this year’s top 30 list on total London revenue it would have dropped 18 places on the RPL table, dropping 46 per cent to $961,000.  

Arnold & Porter also disappears from the table this year, replaced by Australian firm Slater & Gordon, which makes its debut following its acquisition of UK insurance litigation firm Russell Jones & Walker in 2012.