White & Case tops US firms’ profits upturn in London

White & Case’s London office has claimed an astonishing 73.9 per cent profit rise in 2004, with several other US firms also reporting impressive year-end results for their UK outposts.

The firm revealed that profit per equity partner has risen from $575,000 (£305,200) in 2003 to $1m (£530,000) in 2004. At the same time, it has reported the largest turnover increase in London so far, with fee revenue rising by 42.3 per cent, from $71.7m (£38.1m) in 2003 to $102m (£54.1m) last year.

London chief operating partner Neil Upton said the firm was reaping the rewards of a period of heavy investment during 2002-03. Lawyer numbers in the London arm have risen from 82 in 2001 to 199 last year.

The banking and ‘Epas’ groups, comprising energy and projects, were the key drivers behind the results, with both recording revenue rises of around 76 per cent.

Sources within Shearman & Sterling have reported a 29 per cent jump in London revenues to $110m (£58.4m) last year from around $85m (£45.1m) in 2003. Provisional profit figures stand at around $1.1m (£580,000).

Washington DC IP and antitrust specialist Howrey Simon Arnold & White has also reported a turnover boost in London, with revenues climbing from $13m (£6.9m) in 2003 to $16.5m (£8.8m).

Dechert is the only US firm so far to report a turnover dip in London, with fee revenue falling by 7.8 per cent to £39.2m. Steven Fogel, Dechert’s London head, attributed the results to a lower headcount, with the firm shedding four partners and a raft of associates in the last year.

However, profits have increased dramatically, with internal sources placing profit per partner at a London high of $1.2m (£640,000).