PEP jumps 30% at HFW against 2.6% global revenue growth

At least 60% of the London-based firm's revenues were generated outside of the UK for the third consecutive year amid ongoing international expansion efforts
Portrait of Richard Crump

Richard Crump

HFW has reported a 30% increase in profit per equity partner (PEP) against a 2.6% increase in revenue to hit the £200m mark for the first time, as it became the latest law firm to muscle through Covid-19 generated challenges to post strong numbers for the 2020/21 financial year. 

PEP rose to £683,000, with profits per lawyer also up by around 30% to £123,000m for the London-based firm’s financial year, ending 31 March. Net profits rose by more than 26% to £59.7m, while the firm's profit margin climbed more than five percentage points to 30%. 

The results follow on from a strong 2020, when revenue increased by 9% to £195m, generating an 11% increase in PEP. The London-based firm credited the robust performance to its ongoing global expansion efforts and high client demand for specialist expertise in aerospace, commodities, construction, energy and resources, insurance and shipping. 

For the third consecutive year, at least 60% of the firm’s global revenue was generated outside the UK, with six of its international offices — Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Geneva, Shanghai, Paris, and Melbourne — reporting revenue growth of more than 15%. Its London revenue, meanwhile, climbed up by 7.4%. 


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HFW, which generates around 70% of its total revenue from contentious matters, has made a number of significant lateral hires in its global transactional offering over the past year. It added Reed Smith’s Singapore managing partner, Peter Zaman, to its commodities and climate finance team in January, and hired Winston & Strawn's Shanghai managing partner Brinton Scott, who joined alongside of counsel Danielle Peng in May. It also added Baker McKenzie construction disputes partner Jo Delaney to its team in Sydney. 

The firm also advanced its environmental, sustainability and governance (ESG) agenda with the appointment of aerospace practice leader Giles Kavanaugh as its first sustainability partner in April. 

Richard Crump, HFW’s global senior partner, said: “Becoming a £200 million business is a major milestone in our continued growth as a firm, and to have recorded what is our best ever year under such extraordinarily challenging circumstances is a real testament to the talent and dedication of the people we are fortunate to have at all levels across HFW.”

Jeremy Shebson, HFW’s managing partner, also pointed to the firm’s recent investment in technology and data, which saw it team up with litigation analytics company Solomonic and develop a global resource management system, which he said helped the firm adapt “quickly and efficiently” to the disruption caused by the pandemic. 

He added: “For me, it really highlighted the benefits of being focused and disciplined as a business, as well as how working as a team is the best recipe for strong results – it just requires a bit of extra effort and creativity when we're not all under the same roof.”


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