Russell McVeagh, considered one of New Zealand’s most high-powered and profitable lawfirms, has suffered a blow to the ego in the first public rankings of the profession.

Russell McVeagh, considered one of New Zealand's most high-powered and profitable lawfirms, has suffered a blow to the ego in the first public rankings of the profession. 2

The Business of Law, previewed exclusively in this week’s print edition of the NBR, lifts the lid on the secretive world of lawfirm profits,giving an overview of who is doing well and who isn’t, measured against crucial indicators such as the ratio of partners to solicitors.

Chapman Tripp tops the league tables of lawfirms by estimated annual billings followed by Bell Gully (2), Simpson Grierson (3) and Minter Ellison (4).

The surprisingly absent firm in the top cluster is Russell McVeagh, which came in at eight out of 20 for its billings and also placed low on the list for its gearing (partner to solicitor ratio), with about 1.5 lawyers per partner.

Russell McVeagh’s showing is particularly startling as the firm was recognised to have gone through a dramatic restructuring about seven years ago that pruned its “dead wood,” a painful exercise other firms have backed away from.

Russell McVeagh’s equity partners are also widely known to have been paid more than $1 million in their share of profits last year.

Top Firms By Billing included:

1. Chapman Tripp
2. Bell Gully
3. Simpson Grierson
4. Minter Ellison
5. Buddle Findlay
6. DLA Phillips Fox
7. Kensington Swan
8. Russell McVeagh
9. Meredith Connell
10. Duncan Cotterill

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