Gibson Dunn’s UK revenue falls despite global growth

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher’s UK revenue fell by 11 per cent in 2012 despite the firm posting a double-digit rise in turnover globally.

The firm’s London office revenue fell to $61.3m last year, down from $69.2m in 2011, a year in which Gibson Dunn saw its City office turnover increase by 32 per cent (9 April 2012).

Total UK lawyer headcount, meanwhile, rose to 46 from 42, while partner numbers grew from 15 to 16.

Firmwide, Gibson Dunn posted an 11 per cent rise in total fee income from $1.17bn to $1.29bn. Global average profit per equity partner also rose significantly, up from $2.47m to $2.81m.

The co-partner in charge of Gibson Dunn’s London office Tom Budd said the fall in UK revenue could be explained by the firm’s heavy use of contract lawyers and paralegals on major litigation matters such as the investigation into Libor.

“When you need to throw a lot of bodies at a matter we hire contract lawyers in enormous numbers,” added Budd. “The way the revenue calculation goes they get included in that. Some of these matters are ongoing but they no longer require large numbers of documents to be reviewed. The activity level of the partners and permanent lawyers is as high as it’s ever been.”

As in 2011, when disputes accounted for 59 per cent of the London office’s gross revenue, the primary driver of Gibson Dunn’s UK arm was litigation and arbitration.

Last year the firm represented UBS in realtion to the global regulatory and antitrust investigations connected with the Libor scandal (19 December 2012). Gibson Dunn represented UBS throughout the negotiations leading up to settlements with authorities in the UK, the US and Switzerland, announced on 19 December 2012. It also continues to represent UBS in its ongoing cooperation with antitrust authorities, financial regulators and other authorities in multiple jurisdictions worldwide.

A team of partners across multiple Gibson Dunn offices is handling the regulatory and investigative aspects of Libor, with the UK aspects led by City disputes head Philip Rocher and fellow London partners Osma Rajah, Patrick Doris and Greg Campbell.

Gibson Dunn also acted for Investcorp Bank last year in fraud, conspiracy, and breach of contract-related proceedings brought in the Cayman Islands relating to an investment in the bank’s hedge fund programme. A Gibson Dunn team successfully defended Investcorp at first instance and continued to act for the bank as respondent to the appeal, which was heard before the Court of Appeal over four days in November. A decision of the court is now pending.

Rocher was again lead partner with assistance from Lord Charlie Falconer.

In non-contentious matters a Gibson Dunn real estate team led by partner Alan Samson and finance partner Budd advised on the acquisition of the £780m Forth loan portfolio from Lloyds and joint venture with Kennedy Wilson.