Paul Hastings' London office shines with 41% revenue spike as global income rises 20%

Revenue at Los Angeles firm climbs to $1.57bn in veteran chair Seth Zachary’s final full year at helm

Paul Hastings' Los Angeles headquarters Shutterstock

Paul Hastings has become the latest US firm to post bumper financial results, upping global revenue 20% in 2021 to hit $1.57bn with its London office achieving a 40.6% hike in fee income.

The Los Angeles-based firm saw a similar firmwide increase in profit per equity partner (PEP) – it rose by 20.5% to hit $4.7m. The London office, which broke the $100m revenue barrier in 2019 and saw a modest increase in 2020 to $108.6m, closed out its best financial year yet with revenue rising to $152.7m. 

The 2021 results come off the back of a relatively modest performance in 2020, when revenue edged up by 3.2% to hit $1.31bn against a 14.2% increase in PEP. In 2020, revenue per lawyer rose 4% to $1.38m; that key metric jumped by 16.1% last year to $1.61m.

The firm said it had seen growth in demand and deal flow across the board in its global private equity, M&A, securities and capital markets, structured credit, real estate finance, investigations and white collar crime and IP practices across London, New York and Northern California.

Other leading US firms to post their 2021 results include fellow Los Angeles firm Latham & Watkins, which added more than $1bn to its topline after recording a 27% increase in revenue to $5.49bn. Hogan Lovells’ revenue rose by 13% to $2.6bn, White & Case recorded a 20% revenue rise to $2.87bn and Sidley Austin saw income jump by 13.5% to $2.795bn.

Paul Hastings' London revenue increase makes it a standout performer among those US firms that have released their UK results, although Cooley achieved a 50% rise (see table below).

Its London office, which focuses on funds, finance, M&A/PE and investigations and white collar defence, grew headcount 16% to push it past 150 legal staff. New arrivals to the office in 2021 included six lawyers from US rival White & Case, with partner duo Jonathan Pickworth and Joanna Dimmock joining the investigations and white collar defence team in January followed by newly-minted partner Rebecca Copcutt and three associates in May

The firm also added the co-chair of Covington & Burling’s London dispute resolution group, Alex Leitch, to its complex litigation practice last February, while later in the year private investment funds partner Ted Craig moved over from Dentons, Proskauer Rose partner Max Kirchner joined the securities and capital markets team and Latham & Watkins partner Adrian Chiodo joined the leverage finance practice.  

London Office Turnover 2021 - Selected Firms

FirmRevenue ($m)Percentage Change
White & Case44512
Reed Smith21413.5
Quinn Emanuel175 -
Debevoise & Plimpton172.91.5
Paul Hastings 152.740.6
Shearman & Sterling82.120
King & Spalding6214

The results also represent the last full financial year for Paul Hastings with longtime chairman Seth Zachary at the helm. Zachary, who has served seven terms in the role since first being elected in 2000, is to step down in October as part of a wider shake up of the firm's leadership. The firm announced toward the end of last year the he will hand over the reins to leveraged finance partner Frank Lopez, who currently heads the capital markets practice in New York.

At the same time the firm announced that Washington DC-based media, technology and communications partner Sherrese Smith would succeed Greg Nitzkowski and Ronan O’Sullivan as managing partner. Smith, who is also vice chair of the firm's data privacy and cybersecurity practice, serves alongside Lopez as co-managing partner until the duo take on their new roles later this year. 

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