PEP jumps 8% at DLA Piper’s international arm despite dip in revenue

US growth compensates for 1.6% decline in overseas income with group revenue up 2%
DLA Piper's Warsaw office

DLA Piper's Warsaw office Grand Warszawski; Shutterstock

DLA Piper’s international arm has shrugged off a 1.6% decline in revenue to record a 7.8% jump in profit per equity partner (PEP) to £914.8k.

While revenue dipped to £1.055bn, having increased by an impressive 13% over the previous financial year, PEP growth accelerated from the 4% the firm posted during the financial year preceding the Covid-19 pandemic. The results for the year ending 30 April make the global giant the latest of a string of international firms on both sides of the Atlantic to benefit from lockdown-related cost savings.

Global revenue for the same period, also reported in pounds sterling by the firm, increased by 2% to £2.167bn, with PEP up by 7.7% to £1.19m. That compares with global growth of 0.7% for the 2020 calendar year reported by the firm in March.

Today’s results underline the role played by the firm’s US business in ensuring positive revenue growth through the pandemic. In March, CEO Simon Levine told US revenue had increased by 6-8% for the 2020 calendar year.

Aside from the US, the UK, Germany and parts of Asia are identified by the firm as strong performers, with all its regions having improved their profitability.


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The firm’s revenue performance lags behind that of many US- and UK-based international rivals; the Am Law 100 collectively posted 6.6% growth for 2020, while it currently stands at 6.7% for top 50 UK firms, according to GLP's revenue tracker.

However, its sluggish growth is in line with competitors with a similarly large footprint, making it more exposed to countries' fluctuating fortunes across the globe and correspondingly less able to benefit from a focus on booming deal markets. 

Dentons' UK, Ireland and Middle East arm last month recorded a 1% increase in revenue to £221.1. Baker McKenzie is yet to post its numbers for its 30 June year-end. Last October, however, it reported a 12% decline in PEP for the previous period against flat revenue.

In February, DLA Piper extended the term of its international managing partner Simon Levine by two years as the firm sought to maintain stability amid the uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic.

And in June, Central and Eastern European firm Kinstellar acquired DLA Piper’s 38-lawyer office in Kiev, marking the international firm’s withdrawal from the Ukrainian market. 

DLA Piper operates as a Swiss verein made up of DLA Piper (US) and DLA Piper International, which accounts for Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Asia Pacific region.

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