14 Jul 2020

Revenue growth dips as CMS records global income of €1.43bn

UK LLP revenue growth also slips as firm sets down marker for Brexit and Covid-19 impacted results

Penelope Warne

CMS has set down an early marker for the UK law firm reporting season announcing a 4.5% revenue increase across its global network to €1.426bn with revenue for its UK LLP up by 3.7% to £566m.

The global revenue — for the 2019 calendar year — represents a dip on the 5% increase last year, and also the 5% revenue increase collectively recorded by the Am Law 100.

The UK increase of 3.7% — for the 2019/20 financial year —  represents a steeper fall from the 5% increase achieved last year. Collectively, the top 100 UK law firms achieved revenue growth of 9% for the period, according to research by Legal Business.

This year’s UK law firm results will reflect the impact of  the ongoing uncertainty over the UK’s departure from the EU and fears of a no deal Brexit throughout 2019 while the escalating pandemic fears will also have impacted performance.

The full UK lockdown was imposed on 25 March and by the end of the month law firms were announcing Covid-19 mitigation measures including the suspension of partner distributions, salary freezes — and in the case of listed firms — cancelled dividend payments.

Stephen Millar, managing partner for CMS UK, was upbeat about the results, describing the firm’s financial performance as strong.

He added: “As we look to the future, our clients face business critical opportunities and challenges. We are committed to supporting them navigate these challenges both short term and long term as they transition through recovering from the crisis, returning to growth and adapting to the new landscape.”

Highlights flagged by the firm include the promotion of 41 partners, of whom women accounted for 40% of all promotions globally and 50% in the UK and a commitment to reduce carbon emission to net zero by 20205.

In May, it jumped nine place to take the number one spot in the Acritas 2020 UK Law Firm Brand Index.

CMS UK senior partner Penelope Warne said: “Nurturing an environment where our people thrive, ideas blossom and innovation delivers is core to our strategy and goal in being a future facing global law firm.”    

The UK LLP results cover the third financial year since the three-way UK merger between Camerons, Nabarro and Olswang. 

The CMS global network boasts 4,800 lawyers operating out of 43 countries and 76 offices.