Speechly expands overseas with Luxembourg and Zurich launches

Speechly Bircham is to launch its first international offices, opening in Luxembourg and Zurich at the end of a year that saw turnover grow by 2 per cent.

Michael Lingens
Michael Lingens

The firm’s foray overseas has seen it hire a two-partner team of local lawyers to launch in the Grand Duchy. Banking partner Françoise Pfeiffer, who was formerly at Oostvogels Pfister Feyten before setting up her own firm two years ago, and tax consultant Chokri Bouzidi will head a team of associates.

Meanwhile, private client partner Mark Summers is relocating to Zurich to lead Speechly’s new office in Switzerland.

Managing partner Michael Lingens said the firm was aiming to attract high-net-worth individuals and family offices as clients in both jurisdictions, together with private banks and fiduciaries.

At the same time Speechlys has hired Akin Gump of counsel Ashley King-Christopher as a partner in its London tax group to tie in with the services offered by the new offices.

The news comes after the firm saw revenues rise from £58.4m in 2009-10 to £59.7m in the last financial year. Lingens said profitability was projected to be down between 5 and 10 per cent from last year’s average profit per equity partner figure of £428,000, although figures were yet to be finalised.

Lingens said the firm’s transactional teams had performed strongly during the past 12 months, but a lack of significant cases had pulled litigation revenues down.

Significant investment in people and the two new offices meant increased costs outweighed the rise in turnover, Lingens added.