Akin Gump City turnover drops 4 per cent as PEP soars past $2m

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s London revenue dipped by almost 4 per cent over 2016, while global profits soared past the $2m mark.

The fall in London revenue follows a turnover surge of 154 per cent in 2015. Revenue jumped from $35.8m to $91.05m (£63.05m) in 2015 after a deal was announced between Akin Gump and Bingham McCutchen in September 2014.

Last year, the firm made $87.9m in the City – a decline of nearly 4 per cent. The figure means Akin Gump has made little headway in London since the merger, with the combined turnover of Akin Gump and Bingham amounting to $88.1m.

London managing partner Sebastian Rice told The Lawyer: “The figures aren’t quite what they were over 2015. Some big cases came to an end at the start of the year and it’s taken time for work to ramp up. Levels started going up again in the summer and the second-half of the year was very impressive.”

London cases included Akin Gump’s eight-year representation of the bondholders of the three major Icelandic commercial banks that failed in 2008. The deal won the firm restructuring team of the year at The Lawyer Awards last year.

In spite of London setbacks, City senior partner James Roome added: “As a firm it’s been a great year”.

Akin Gump posted turnover of $980m – a rise of 5 per cent from $930m. Net profit climbed nearly 4 per cent from $401.6m to $412.5m.

Average profit per equity partner similarly increased by 10 per cent, jumping from $1.9m to $2.1m. Revenue per lawyer rose from $1.09m to $1.14m.

Akin Gump has had an up-and-down year in London, losing litigators Tom Evans and Michael Stepek to Burford Law and Winston & Strawn respectively. It was also criticised in a High Court judgment last November that revealed it racked up $11.5m on a case that was struck out at the first hurdle.

Despite the losses, Akin Gump recruited Dentons private equity partner Igor Krivoshekov to drive its international energy offering. It also hired Baker & McKenzie partner Jasper Helder to spearhead its international trade practice and Addleshaw Goddard litigation partner Kambiz Larizadeh.

It also carried out a UK salary review over 2016, opting to pay its junior lawyers according to moving exchange rates. Akin Gump increased its base salaries before Brexit to match Cravath Swaine & Moore’s $180,000 pay packets for junior lawyers.

US financials season is now firmly underway, with a number of firms revealing growth over 2016.

Weil Gotshal & Manges saw revenue growth of 9 per cent to $1.27bn with PEP drastically increasing by 22 per cent to $3.1m.

Baker Botts further enjoyed gains over 2016, with turnover up 20 per cent to $846.5m from $704.5m. PEP jumped 37 per cent from $1.8m to $2.5m.

Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft, however, suffered a revenue decline of 2.5 per cent to $452m. PEP rose nearly 3 per cent to $2.1m.

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