Half-year turnover up 12 per cent at Watson Farley

Watson Farley & Williams has posted double-digit revenue growth for the first six months of the 2013/14 financial year with half-year revenues of £52m. 

The figure is promising for the firm, which saw a 13 per cent fall in average profit per equity partner (PEP) at the year-end despite reporting a 2 per cent increase in turnover to £102.1m for 2012/13 (16 July 2013). 

Its revenue growth rate had slowed in 2012/13 compared to the year before, when the firm enjoyed a 12 per cent hike on 2010/11’s £88.8m. The healthy rise came off the back of an impressive expansion campaign, giving the firm 15 lateral hires and 14 offices spanning Europe, Asia and the US [see more below].

Its core practice areas are shipping and energy, which represent more than half of its work.

Managing partner Michael Greville said: “This is extremely encouraging. Whilst it is difficult to predict what the second half of the year will bring, the first half has shown increased levels of activity and we have a strong pipeline of work in our core sectors and across our offices, which bodes well for the rest of the year.”

Read more in Number Crunching: Watson Farley & Williams.


With hirings and office openings inevitably come costs. In 2011/12 the firm’s total borrowings of £9.7m included lease financing for office fit-outs. Lawyer headcount shot up from 279 to 327 and, in spite of the turnover hike, revenue per lawyer (RPL) fell by 5 per cent to £302,000. The most recent office launch was in January 2013 in Frankfurt, making it the firm’s third German outpost. However, managing partner Michael Greville told The Lawyer last year that there were no plans for further expansion or recruitment, so RPL may have a chance to recover for 2013 after all.