K&L Gates London revenues rise 10 per cent as global growth stalls

K&L Gates has posted record financial results for its London office as its global figures show a drop in average profits per equity partner (PEP) of 4.3 per cent.

Peter Kalis
Peter Kalis

London revenue rose by 10 per cent to £33m, an increase that rises to 14 per cent proportionately when converted to dollars.

K&L Gates chairman Peter Kalis said the London office growth over the past two years, during which time revenues have risen by 18 per cent on a static headcount, was primarily due to the re-orientation of the office from a domestic mid-market player to an internationally focused part of the firm’s platform.

“London recorded its best ever numbers, exceeding the previous record set in 2008,” said Kalis. “All disciplines showed good growth with standout performances by competition, litigation and structured finance. Lateral hiring has been fundamental to that restructuring and will continue into 2012.”

Firmwide K&L Gates added approximately 50 lateral partners last year. It also opened new offices in Brussels, Doha, Sao Paulo and Charleston in 2011 and added Milan earlier this year.

The firm’s global results were, however, less impressive than its City performance, with PEP down from $930,122 in 2010 to $890,368 in 2011.

Firmwide revenue increased by 0.6 per cent from $1.055bn in 2010 to $1.062bn in 2011 while revenue per lawyer increased 0.7 per cent from $598,752 in 2010 to $602,666 in 2011.
“This is the first time in 17 years that we’ve not shown an increase in both revenue and PEP,” said Kalis, who added that while the major cost-cutting drives had taken place in 2008-09, every item of expense continued to be scrutinised.

“Every expense item has to be challenged and re-challenged,” added Kalis. “That’s true of every industry. If present economic conditions persist, most law firms will be challenged in the marketplace in 2012, and we intend to meet that challenge through continued growth of inter-office, and especially cross-border, work and through emphasis of practices in demand during these times.”

Those practices would include government enforcement, IP litigation and others less affected by subdued deal flow, Kalis added.  

“We’ll pay close attention to our cost structure, and, as always, we will avoid debt,” he added.  “Our strategic expansion will continue prudently as opportunities present themselves.”