London – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Nigel Knowles, Managing Pa…

London – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Nigel Knowles, Managing Partner of the European and Asian arm of DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary (“DLA Piper”) today announced that it had achieved a “very good result” for the last financial year. Speaking at DLA Piper’s seventh annual press conference in London on 18 May 2005 Nigel said he was pleased that the business delivered a strong financial performance during a year of major activity including its US merger and several other huge investments across a number of areas.

Nigel presented the fee income for the year ending 30 April 2005 as having reached £324m, an increase of 18% on the previous year. (The fee income for the year ending 30 April 2004 was £275m). In January 2005 the US business reported a fee income of $794m for the year ending 31 December 2004. DLA Piper’s combined revenue is in the region of £752m (or €1.1bn / $1.4bn).
Nigel added that profits-per-partner for Europe and Asia had also risen from £475,000 to £535,000, representing an increase of 12.6%.
Global investment
Following the three way merger between DLA, Piper Rudnick and Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich LLP on 1 January 2005, DLA Piper is now one of the world’s largest legal services organisations. Despite the investment of time and money required to deliver a successful transatlantic merger the European and Asian business has performed very well.
The merger has secured DLA Piper several new clients on a transatlantic basis. Many, such as Corus, Zurich and Invitrogen invited DLA Piper to act on their behalf because of its extended global reach. Nigel said: “Our business is not just about size. It is also about the reach of our office network which enables us to meet the expanding legal needs of global clients and, locally where we continue to service the day-to-day needs of many businesses who require national legal support.”

Continental European and Asian investment
DLA Piper has a significant presence within Continental Europe with 18 offices and over 300 lawyers. Lateral hires totaled 19 across Continental Europe in the last financial year. In the same period DLA Piper opened its second Italian office in Rome and established two offices in Germany, one in Hamburg and another in Cologne. In Asia, seven lateral hires reinforced key practice groups, including corporate, telecommunications, IP, project finance and restructuring and insolvency.
Staff growth
With 59 lateral hires made in total across Europe and Asia in the reporting period, 29 of which were from the former media and IP team at Denton Wilde Sapte, a move which is widely recognised as one of the largest lateral hires in UK legal history. As at 30 April 2005, DLA Piper had 3,740 full-time equivalent staff across Europe and Asia, an increase of 6% on last year’s figure of 3,520. Partner numbers grew by 12% to 424 in the same period. In September 2005 90 new trainees are also set to join the UK offices.
Senior management
Last year changes were made to the senior management team across Europe and Asia, reflecting the growing international status of the business. Further changes have been made to ensure that the management team continues to be effective post merger. Andrew Darwin continues as UK Managing Director overseeing the office managing partners and UK practice groups. Steven De Keyser, Regional Managing Partner for Belgium is now also the Continental Europe Managing Director. Nick Seddon continues as Asia Managing Director. All are members of the European and Asian board alongside Nigel Knowles, Peter Wayte, Paul Edwards, a non-executive board member and three elected partners. One new partner will join the board following a partner election. An announcement will be made later this month.
Summarising, Nigel expressed thanks to everyone at DLA Piper saying: “Our performance in the past 12 months clearly demonstrates to the market that we invest in our future and our clients by being focused on delivering a strong financial performance that underpins our future. The US merger isn’t the end of the story as we still have to build on our global platform but it is a significant and successful start and we have a great team of people, who will ensure our continued success.”
Senator George Mitchell also spoke at the press conference and said: “I am delighted that DLA Piper is making such excellent progress following the merger. The world really is a much smaller place and the global challenges we now face are the same as those faced by our clients, which puts us in a much better position to anticipate and respond on their behalf.”

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