Osborne Clarke posts double-digit rise in UK PEP as firm-wide revenue grows 19% to €525m

UK independent points to growth in US and ESG and energy practices as it exceeds €500m revenue target one year early

Omar Al-Nuaimi Image courtesy of Osborne Clarke

Osborne Clarke has posted a robust set of results as financial reporting season gets underway, with firm-wide revenue jumping 19% to €525m against an 11% increase in UK profits per equity partner (PEP) to £771k.

The results see the firm reverse the 14% dip in UK PEP it saw in 2022-23 despite a 9% rise in firm-wide revenue, as tougher trading conditions and “significant but necessary” investments dragged on profits. Nonetheless, the latest PEP still falls short of the £796k in achieved in 2021-22, when a record deals market propelled a number of firms to new profit highs. 

This time the firm grew UK revenue 11% to £240.5m, while net profit, having dipped slightly in 22/23, jumped 14% to £84.8m. 

“This is an excellent set of results and I’m particularly proud we’ve over-delivered on our €500m target a year early,” said Omar Al-Nuaimi, Osborne Clarke’s international CEO. “It’s a tribute to all the work of our international teams, who I’d like to thank for their efforts.”

Al-Nuaimi highlighted the launch of the firm’s third US office, in Miami, last September. The firm hired IT and data law and dispute resolution specialist Javier Fernández-Samaniego to lead the new office from Samaniego Law, where he had been managing partner. 

“The US remains an exciting market and important for our international clients, and our team has had a successful start in strengthening our relationships across the US, Latin America and Spain,” Al-Nuaimi said. 

“We’re also building on our international ESG offering and have invested in growing our energy and utilities sector client teams across the UK, Germany, Italy and Poland,” he added. 

In the UK the firm increased revenue across all of its service lines, with double digit growth in advisory; disputes and risk; and projects, real estate and finance.

Four of Osborne Clarke’s seven key UK sectors – life sciences and healthcare; retail and consumer; mobility and infrastructure; and energy and utilities – achieved double digit growth too, with the firm adding it also had strong results across the built environment; and technology, media and comms sectors.

The firm’s UK managing partner, Conrad Davies, commented: “This time last year we committed the business to a number of change and investment programmes aimed at growing our income and improving profitability. I’m delighted that these have really paid off.

“We set ourselves some challenging goals around productivity and efficiency – driving more focus into what we do and how we do it. It’s all about asking our people to work smarter not harder. Ensuring more of our income falls to the bottom line gives us the ability to continue to invest heavily in our people and business, which is essential to keep pushing forward with our strategy and to deliver on our client promises.”

The firm said it had continued to grow its client base across its key sectors over the course of the year with mandates including Octopus Energy Generation, Swiss Life, Canary Wharf Group and Müller. It was also confirmed on BT Group’s new UK legal panel and advised CBRE on the acquisition of J&J Worldwide Service for an initial purchase price of $800m plus a potential earn-out of up to $250m. 

Off the back of the results, in June the firm’s UK staff received a 5% profit share bonus based on annual salaries, with a minimum payment of £2k. In August it will also launch a long-term incentive plan, with the firm to reward high performers with bonuses of up to 40% paid over three years.

The firm promoted 11 of its UK lawyers to partner in April, its biggest promotions round in the last 10 years, having made up nine to partner in Europe in February. It also hired 13 partners over the course of the year, including private wealth specialist Patrick Woodisse and corporate finance lawyer Louise Grzasko in Bristol from TLT and BPE Solicitors respectively. 

Coming at the start of the UK financial reporting season, Osborne Clarke’s results are likely to set the tone for a more robust set of results among the top 50 UK firms given the upturn in global deal markets. Its results are in line with other firms that have reported their numbers so far, including Kennedys, which grew revenue 17% to a new high of £384m, and Stephenson Harwood’s 16% increase to £264m

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