The European 100 2014, firms 6-10



This is an executive summary. To access the full report with profiles of the top 50 firms and detailed analysis of historical trends, click here .

6. Gide Loyrette Nouel

Managing partner: Stéphane Puel

Staff: 1,047

Fee-earners: 648

Qualified lawyers: 539

Partners: 114

Equity partners: 90

Female partners: 25

Female equity partners: 13

Turnover: €192.5m

Revenue per lawyer: €357k

Revenue per partner: €1.69m

Revenue per equity partner: €2.14m

Headquartered: France

Networks and relationships: Lex Mundi, Pacific Rim Advisory Council, United States European Network; also in an alliance with Chiomenti, Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira and Gleiss Lutz

Key clients: Crédit Agricole, BPCE, BNP Paribas, Société Générale, HSBC, the World Bank

As the European 100 went to press, Gide Loyrette Nouel was yet to finalise its 2013 figures. But managing partner Stéphane Puel said the result was likely to be between €190m and €195m, essentially stable on the previous year.

Stability is actually a pretty good result for Gide, which suffered a slew of partner departures in late 2012 and early 2013. The firm’s headcount slumped from 567 lawyers in 2012 to 539 last year, and overall staff numbers went from 1,123 to 1,047.

Total partner numbers went down by just one, from 115 to 114. The small net decrease was achieved after partner promotions and lateral hires negated the departures.

Gide took on nine partners and 10 other lawyers from Morgan Lewis’s Paris office in October last year and recruited a team from Beiten Burkhardt in Kiev in December. This was a sharp about-turn in strategy for Gide, which has traditionally not made lateral hires to bulk up.

The firm saw a net decrease of six in its equity partnership, from 96 to 90. Gide has a pure lockstep system.

The result of the changing headcount was an increase in revenue per lawyer, from €339,000 in 2012 to €357,000 last year. Revenue per partner rose minimally and average revenue per equity partner grew from €2m to €2.14m.

Gide’s revenue is more balanced than many European firms. Corporate generates 22 per cent, finance 19 per cent, litigation 14 per cent and property 12 per cent, with the remaining third coming from a range of practice groups including employment and restructuring.

The corporate team is by far the largest, with 37 partners to finance’s 28 and litigation’s 25.

Last year saw the firm continue its efforts to implement the new strategic direction adopted when Puel and senior partner Baudouin de Moucheron were elected in 2012. The strategy includes building closer relationships with the firm’s European allies Chiomenti, Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira and Gleiss Lutz, including office-sharing.

7. Noerr

Managing partners: Tobias Bürgers, Alexander Ritvay

Staff: 861

Fee-earners: 407

Qualified lawyers: 361

Partners: 152

Equity partners: 75

Female partners: 19

Female equity partners: 5

Turnover: €190.8m

Revenue per lawyer: €529k

Revenue per partner: €1.26m

Revenue per equity partner: €2.54m

Headquartered: Germany

Networks and relationships: Lex Mundi; also referral relationships with Macfarlanes , Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison, Ropes & Gray and Travers Smith

Key clients: Apollo, Daimler, Deutsche Bank, Fresenius, Schwarz Group, ThyssenKrupp

Noerr has overtaken Uría Menéndez in this year’s rankings with a market-beating turnover rise of 12.3 per cent, from €170m in 2012 to €190.8m. The absence of Salans from the rankings after its merger with SNR Denton and Fraser Milner Casgrain to form Dentons also pushes the firm up the table, from ninth to seventh place.

The firm’s German offices performed most strongly, with domestic revenue increasing by 15.2 per cent to €164.5m. Revenues from Noerr’s Central and Eastern European offices dropped by 3 per cent to €26.3m. Co-managing partner Alexander Ritvay said profit was stable.

Last year’s financial increase came with no substantial change in headcount, meaning revenue per lawyer also rose, from €479,000 in 2012 to €529,000. However, Noerr added eight to its partnership during the year, resulting in a slightly lower rise in average revenue per partner of 5 per cent, from €1.19m to €1.26m.

Most of the new partners were salaried, with only one joining
the equity last year. As a result, leverage remained stable at 1:3.8.

There was a net increase of only one female partner, pushing the proportion of Noerr partners who are women down to 12.5 per cent from 12.6 per cent the previous year – not a big change, but in the wrong direction nonetheless.

Noerr has managed to increase its hourly rates consistently over the past decade, while at the same time improving its efficiency with the use of more junior lawyers and paralegals.

Corporate is by far the firm’s
largest practice area, accounting for 31 per cent of revenue. Its other two core practices, litigation and regulatory, accounted for 19 and
12 per cent of turnover respectively.

As well as its legal staff, Noerr employs about 85 people in its non-legal functions, including auditors, accountants and tax advisers.

8. Uría Menéndez

Managing partner: Luis de Carlos

Staff: 873

Fee-earners: 530

Qualified lawyers: 530

Partners: 119

Equity partners: 119

Female partners: 9

Female equity partners: 9

Turnover: €185.5m

Revenue per lawyer: €350k

Revenue per partner: €1.56m

Revenue per equity partner: €1.56m

Headquartered: Spain

Networks and relationships: Lex Mundi; best friends with Bonelli Erede Pappalardo, Bredin Prat, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, Hengeler Mueller and Slaughter and May ; relationships with firms across Latin America

Key clients: Banco Santander, Isolex Corsán, Telefónica, Repsol, Apollo, Banco Privado Atlántico

Uría Menéndez had the best 2013 of all the big Spanish firms, with revenue rising by 3 per cent to hit €185.5m. The rise followed a 4.5 per cent drop the previous year, and was driven by an uptick in activity. 

With a small drop in the number of qualified lawyers from 534 to 530, average revenue per lawyer rose from €337,000 in 2012 to €350,000 last year. However, an increase of three in the partnership meant the change in revenue per partner was minimal, increasing from €1.55m in 2012 to €1.56m last year.

Leverage dropped slightly from 1:3.6 in 2012 to 1:3.5. A net decrease of one female partner meant that Uría’s female partnership proportion is now extremely poor at just 7.6 per cent.

Managing partner Luis de Carlos said 2013 had begun slowly, but in the second half of the year activity had picked up substantially. This enabled the firm to beat its growth target for 2013.

The firm’s corporate, real estate and capital markets teams had an especially strong year, while litigation, tax and employment remained solid. Uría topped Thomson Reuters’ Spanish deal tables by value and was joint second by volume.

De Carlos said both the firm’s Spanish and Portuguese offices had performed well in 2013, although some offices had done better than others.

Strategically, 2013 was a quiet year with little change. The firm maintains its all-equity, pure lockstep system and its relationship with the Slaughter and May-led ‘best friends’, as well as Latin American firms in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru.

9. Gleiss Lutz

Managing partner: Rainer Loges

Staff: 600

Fee-earners: 266

Qualified lawyers: 266

Partners: 84

Equity partners: 84

Female partners: 5

Female equity partners: 5

Turnover: €166m*

Revenue per lawyer: €624k

Revenue per partner: €1.98m

Revenue per equity partner: €1.98m

Headquartered: Germany

Networks and relationships: Alliances with Chiomenti, Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira and Gide Loyrette Nouel

Key clients: Blackstone, Daimler, MunichRe, Siemens, Procter & Gamble, UniCredit

Gleiss Lutz continues to keep its financial figures to itself, but our estimate for the firm’s 2013 turnover is €166m – a 4.7 per cent increase from the previous year. Unlike many in the German market last year, Gleiss did not increase its headcount and instead is profiting from the improving economic conditions. Indeed the firm’s headcount has changed very little in recent years.

As a result of static lawyer numbers, estimated revenue per lawyer broke through the €600,000 mark and rose 5.6 per cent to €624,000. Revenue per partner also rose, up by 7.6 per cent. Gleiss maintains an all-equity partnership and a pure lockstep remuneration system.

Leverage was largely unchanged, at 1:2.2. Gleiss’s female partner headcount was also unchanged in 2013, with five out of its 84 partners women. However, the firm made up corporate lawyer Vera Rothenburg, along with two other partner promotions, in January this year, meaning the proportion should rise in next year’s European 100.

Managing partner Rainer Loges pointed to the corporate, competition, restructuring and compliance and investigations practices as performing especially well in 2013, although he added that other practice areas had also had solid years. 

Gleiss is continuing to develop its international alliance with Chiomenti, Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira and Gide Loyrette Nouel, while maintaining its independence. 

Strategically 2013 was a fairly uneventful year. Gleiss rolled out paid sabbaticals for associates and associated partners, the result of a survey of associates that highlighted work-life balance as an issue. 

It has also been looking at its pricing structure and is implementing more sophisticated technology to monitor time-keeping and costs. This is an ongoing process which will continue to be rolled out during 2014.

10. Rödl & Partner

Managing partner: Christian Rödl

Staff: 785

Fee-earners: 662

Qualified lawyers: 384

Partners: 202

Equity partners: 98

Female partners: 64

Female equity partners: 9

Turnover: €155.9m

Revenue per lawyer: €322k

Revenue per partner: €772k

Revenue per equity partner: €1.59m

Headquartered: Germany

Networks and relationships: Alliances with Tiberghien (Belgium), Stikeman Elliott (Canada), Heikkilä & Co (Finland), Kennedy Van der Laan (Netherlands), Yigal Arnon & Co (Israel), Cuesta Llaca y Esquivel (Mexico), Walder Wyss (Switzerland)

Key clients: Surteco, Eyevis, Immeo Immobilien-Gruppe, Kiesewetter, Afinum, Wika

Rödl & Partner is the largest independent multidisciplinary tax and audit practice in Europe, with a global presence through its own offices in a number of jurisdictions, as well as associations worldwide.

In common with other German professional practices, last year was a good one for the firm. Global turnover, including the auditing and accounting teams, reached €298.6m, of which €155.9m was produced by the legal and tax law departments. The increase in legal and tax of about 7 per cent was more than the 6.15 per cent reported by Rödl as a whole.

The firm has more than 3,500 staff globally across all of its disciplines, with about half in Germany. Legal and tax account for 52 per cent of revenue and a similar proportion of total headcount.

Headcount numbers relating to legal and tax include qualified tax law advisers, but the firm also increased its purely legal headcount between 2012 and 2013. It added six lawyers to its partnership, including several out of the 24 partner promotions in June.

Lawyer numbers rose from 351 in 2012 to 384 last year, an increase of 9.4 per cent. 

Including tax advisers, revenue per lawyer sat at €322,000 last year and revenue per partner at €772,000, one of the lower revenue per partner figures in the European 100. Average revenue per equity partner was €1.59m, more comparable to firms of a similar size.

Partner to associate ratio is low at 1:1.4, while its leverage of 1:3.9 is towards the upper end of the scale.

The firm’s female partnership proportion of 31.7 per cent is high, especially for a German firm, but it is let down by the fact that only nine of its 98 equity partners are women, a proportion of 9.2 per cent. This drops further when lawyers alone are counted, to two out of 69 or 2.9 per cent.

Last year saw successful negotiations with the Milan office of Italian corporate boutique BLF Studio Legale. BLF senior partner Daniele Bonvicini moved to Rödl as a partner along with his team.

To access the full report with profiles of the top 50 firms and detailed analysis of historical trends, click here .