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European turnover reaches record level

Posted by: Laurence Simons 06/01/17
According to a report from The Lawyer, total turnover for the Continent’s top 100 firms has broken the €9bn (£7bn) mark for the first time. As a group the top 100 European firms saw turnover increase by an average of 4.6% between 2014 and 2015, a figure which represents a rise of just over €1bn in five years.

Yet the total number of lawyers rose less than 1% – from 22,659 in 2011 to 22,814 in 2015. Which means that Europe’s lawyers are working more productively than ever and are making the most of a mildly improved economic environment throughout 2015. A more or less continuous flow of regulatory work meant that litigators remained busy, while plenty of cross-border deals meant transactional lawyers were also kept happy.

However the picture is characterised by some minor fluctuations. Throughout Ireland a majority of top firms increased their headcount and all recorded double digit growth. Similarly, Spanish firms had their best year since the financial crisis with all of the ‘Big Four’ experiencing growth. Most, but not all, German firms recorded an uptick in activity. While in France the growth of mid-sized firms outpaced that of the market leaders.

The average European 100 firm turned over €90.2m last year and had an average headcount of 425. Average revenue per lawyer rose 1.5% to €395,000 in 2015, while average revenue per partner reached €1.28m, up 1.6% on 2014. The analysis also found that the European market has consolidated, rather than expanded, with the difference in turnover between the largest and smallest firms in the ranking narrowing from €329.1m in 2011 to €316.9m in 2015.

A total of 16 firms reported, or were estimated to have experienced, a double digit rise in revenue last year. These included a 20% increase for Ireland’s Mason Hayes & Curran, an estimated 22.9% cent rise for Swiss firm Homburger, and a 23.8% increase for rival Bär & Karrer.

With the future of the UK’s ongoing relationship with the EU still unclear, international firms might offer potential opportunities for UK qualified lawyers.
Tagged In: Europe
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