What a vindication for Lovells. Outside the magic circle, it’s always been Herbert Smith that has got the attention. But if you look at our preliminary findings on year-end figures, Lovells could end up being the fashionable firm to the chasing pack. It looks set to post figures of around £390m – a highly impressive 20 per cent increase in turnover.
You might imagine that at least part of the increase is accounted for by the mergers in Western Europe, notably Paris and Amsterdam. That said, Siméon & Associés – the Paris boutique taken over by Lovells at the end of last year – doesn’t even figure in the French top 20 by turnover, so that’s not where the weight is coming from. Word has it that the German practice is up by more than 15 per cent too.
Lovells may not be starring in the M&A tables as much as it would like, but you can’t sneer at a 25 per cent increase in corporate turnover in London. It also looks like the firm’s revenue per lawyer (RPL) figure will be around £316,000 – up from £261,000 last year. That would have made Lovells tie for sixth place with Linklaters in the RPL table in The Lawyer 100. What’s more, revenue per partner has gone up from £1m last year to approximately £1.2m .
In fact, if you make the comparisons with last year, there’s no coherent trend for RPL in the top firms. It looks like Clifford Chance may be posting an increase – around £339,000 compared with £326,000 last year. Herbert Smith, too, will be around £288,000, compared with last year’s £222,000 – a figure that would have got it into the top 10 for RPL last year.
On the other hand, Freshfields and Allen & Overy (A&O) both look like they may be going down; Freshfields from £390,000 to £355,000 and A&O from £343,000 to £334,000. (By the way, we rather like the fact that Allen & Overy’s turnover is now a psychologically important billion dollars – very transatlantic.)
Sharp-eyed readers will have noticed that Linklaters’ figures are not included in our story. Guess what? It’s being really coy on both revenues and – get this – the number of lawyers. Can’t think why.
We have to stress that these are preliminary figures, so by the time The Lawyer 100 is published in September, there may well be adjustments. Despite all the anxiety in the leading City firms, there’s no apocalypse. But then, the profits figures aren’t in yet. We just can’t wait for the spin.