Stephenson Harwood posts double-digit bounce in revenue

PEP rises by 6% as chief executive says five-year strategy to build balanced practice is paying off

Eifion Morris

Stephenson Harwood has posted a robust 11% rise in fee income, boosting revenue to a record £228m for the financial year to the end of April.

The jump comes after revenue was stuck at £206m for the previous two financial years with the London firm pointing to a rise in disputes work as a key reason for the improved performance. 

At £725,000, profit per equity partner (PEP) was up 6% from £685,000 in 2021/22, While not quite at the pre pre-pandemic peak of £725,000 in 2018/19, taken together with revenue growth, the results represent a positive milestone for the firm's five-year strategy, which it launched at the start of the financial year.

Chief executive Eifion Morris said a deliberate hedging of the business was “really working”, the dispute resolution practices having experienced a “bounce-back year” after "a couple of quieter years” while transactional teams had remained busy.

He added: “A key strength of the firm – and an integral part of our strategy – is the balance between our contentious and non-contentious practices. It's something that very few, if any, City firms share with us, and it's something we want to retain as the business grows.”

The firm's strategy aims to achieve a “step-change” in the nature and complexity of its work. It includes a focus on five sectors: transport and trade, private capital and funds, life sciences, technology and decarbonisation.

"Looking ahead to the next twelve months, our focus remains on embedding our sector focus, as well as profitably growing the business," Morris said, promising senior later hires, including the exploration of “larger moves”.

Key London hires over the period include that of Dan Smith, who joined from Latham & Watkins as a partner last June to focus on banking and financial services litigation claims, associated commercial disputes and parallel regulatory investigations.

And in February the firm hired Michael Bywell and Peter Dalton from Hausfeld and Herbert Smith Freehills respectively to lead its contentious technology, cyber and data disputes practice.

Meanwhile, this week the firm hired Singapore-based corporate compliance specialist Jonathan Goacher joined the firm as a partner from Hill Dickinson. However, it lost private equity veteran George Cyriac to Morgan Lewis in Singapore earlier this month.

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