Hello and welcome to the Fides Weekly Update, your digest of this week’s key legal trends, moves and developments from across the globe.
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1). Clifford Chance and Freshfields Report Financial Results
The season of law firm financial reporting is upon us, with magic circle firms Clifford Chance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer being among firms revealing their 2018-19 figures this week.
At Clifford Chance, revenue and profit per equity partner (PEP) both hit record highs, although growth at the firm was much smaller than in previous years. Revenue at the firm increased 4.3% to £1.69 billion, whilst PEP increased 1% to £1.62 million. This is compared to a 16% growth in PEP reported last year.
Global managing partner Matthew Layton attributed slowing growth to several significant investments in technology, such as e-billing and data management in line with client demands.
The firm is also scaling up its six best delivery hubs – which aim to improve client services via legal technology – with the with the Newcastle low-cost service centre (formerly of the collapsed construction giant Carillion) now fully integrated into the business.
Magic circle competitor Freshfields meanwhile posted a flat revenue growth of 5%, equalling figures posted last year. By adding £70 million to its top line, total revenue at the firm now stands at £1.47 billion. PEP also increased by £96,000 (6%), totalling £1.84 million.
Both firms took the decision to increase their newly qualified lawyer pay to £100,000 last month.
Global firms Hebert Smith Freehills and Simmons & Simmons also reported their financial results this week. Revenue at HSF grew 4% to £965.7 million, while PEP grew to £949,000, an 11% growth. Simmons posted a 6% revenue growth to £374 million, with PEP rising 4% to reach £710,000.
2). Movers & Shakers
Following a $20m cash injection from HSBC and Goldman Sachs, UK fintech startup Bud has turned to Freshfields senior associate Ryan Taylor to fill its newly-created general counsel position
Food and beverage giant Kraft Heinz has named Thomas Loest as its new general counsel for EMEA, joining from personal care corporation Kimberly-Clark
London-based restructuring and insolvency partner Simon Ridpath will stand as managing partner for a four year term from May 2020
Barbara Levi Mager, long time in-house leader for Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis International AG, is set to join Rio Tinto in January 2020
Marien Glerum will be responsible for the management and financial oversight of the Amsterdam, Brussels and Luxembourg offices
Real estate partner Trevor Ivory to become the new managing partner of DLA’s Birmingham office
Bruce Braude, BCLP’s director of legal operations solutions for EMEA, is joining Deloitte Legal as the firm’s first chief technology officer
Dentons has hired Fieldfisher cyber and security law head Antonis Patrikios
Disputes partner Nicola Phillips is set to make the move to Crowell as the firm continues to bolster its London office
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has continued its spate of London hires with the addition of White & Case M&A partner Gavin Weir
Proskauer Rose has hired Stephenson Harwood corporate finance partner Warren Allan as a partner in its London office, reuniting him with several former King & Wood Mallesons colleagues
Laura Bygrave has been appointed Head of Innovation at Deloitte Legal, marking the Big Four’s first key legal hire since Allen & Overy banking partner Michael Castle was brought in last January as managing partner
Reed Smith has bolstered its Paris intellectual property practice with the hire of a three-strong team from Dentons led by partner Marianne Schaffner
Goodwin Procter has recruited White & Case restructuring partner Céline Domenget Morin as a partner in Paris to lead its financial restructuring practice
Kennedys departures to insurance rival Plexus Law have now hit 27 in recent months, two years after the firms held merger talks. A Kennedys team comprising seven partners, 11 associates, three trainees, a consultant and five support staff are due to be making the move
Corporate partner Jeroen Hoekstra and commercial partner Benjamin van Kessel join Eversheds from local firm Nineyards Law, while corporate lawyer Elmer Veenman joins from De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, where he was a senior associate
Eric Lin joins Reed Smith as an energy and natural resources partner, the latest in a string of partner hires by the U.S. firm in China and Hong Kong in recent months
Sarah Stasny is joining Paul Weiss from the Manhattan office of Kirkland & Ellis
Technology and Innovation