18 Jan 2022

Quinn Emanuel upbeat over flat 2021 London revenue performance

Firm praises team for matching record 2020 turnover as it faced ‘particular’ challenge of competition team departure

Headshot of Richard East with St Paul's Cathedral in the background

Richard East

US litigation leader Quinn Emanuel has expressed satisfaction with a flat revenue performance by its London office given a record 2020 and the ‘particular challenge’ of losing a high-profile competition team last year.

Revenue at the 26-partner office dipped marginally from £127.4m in 2020 to £127.3m, against a 6% fall in profit to £85.59m, which the firm put down to rising costs associated with associate salaries and bonuses and the taking up of larger office space. The office’s profit margin slipped to 67% from 71% in 2020.

The results contrast with a stellar performance in 2020, when revenue soared by 27% with profit jumping by 34%. They are also below par when compared to many UK top 50 law firms, which recorded an average increase in revenue of 7% according to the Global Legal Post 2021 results tracker, although Quinn Emanuel’s focus on disputes has precluded it from cashing in on record deal markets. 

Last October, the firm also had to contend with a rare reverse in London when UK competition practice co-lead Boris Bronfentrinker defected to Willkie Farr & Gallagher along with partners Elaine Whiteford and Nicola Chesaites and a group of associates.

London Senior Partner Richard East acknowledged the departures had presented the office with a “particular challenge” but said  there had been “very little impact on revenue” as the firm had “retained many of their cases”.  He also pointed to the firm’s instruction to lead a £2.3bn collective damages claim against social media giant Facebook as evidence of the team’s strength.

“We are extremely pleased to have matched our 2020 revenue, which was a herculean effort by staff and the highest grossing year since we launched in London 14 years ago,” he said. 

The firm’s 26 partners in London include three who are newly elected: Leo Kitchen, who has a particular focus on competition-related collective claims, international arbitration specialist Adam McWilliams, and Karabeth Ovenden, whose practice covers derivative products risk management and related disputes, insolvency matters, and complex commercial and tax disputes. 

As of 31 December the office had 63 associates and three of counsel. 

Key cases the firm is advising on this year - alongside the Facebook claim – include representing administrator Alvarez & Marsall in a £1bn auditor claim against E&Y following the collapse of NMC Health.

The firm is also representing Phones4U in its claim against several major mobile network operators over an alleged anti-competitive breach of contract.

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