International Firm of the Year

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld

There is no doubt that 2014 was a transformational year for Akin Gump. In London, the acquisition of the entire London office of Bingham McCutchen was the largest-ever team move in Europe. This deal more than doubled the size of Akin’s office (to more than 70 lawyers) and created arguably the world’s most significant cross-border financial restructuring practice.

It also increased Akin’s headcount significantly in Hong Kong as well as providing a tremendous boost to its funds and corporate work across Asia and the US, while in Frankfurt, the firm was able to plant its flag in one of Europe’s leading financial centres.

The combination also delivered a major enhancement in Akin’s capabilities and the firm’s ability to serve its clients across a much broader range of practices and issues, ranging from funds work to corporate, tax, antitrust, regulatory, litigation and more.

For Akin the year was far from being solely about the Bingham tie-up. Deal highlights included advising global telecoms operator VimpelCom on the $2.6bn sale by its Egyptian-listed subsidiary Global Telecom Holding of its stake in Omnium Telecom Algeria. But in years to come 2014 will always be seen as the year when the firm truly made its mark in the UK.

Runner up
  • White & Case

White & Case continued its outstanding run of form during 2014, with the London office in particular posting significant growth in revenue and headcount. In a landmark year for financial performance, White & Case achieved three notable ‘firsts’ during 2014: gross revenue above $1.5bn, PEP above $2m and revenue per lawyer above $800,000.

White & Case stuck to its knitting in terms of the implementation of a clear strategy and investing in key practices including capital markets, M&A and disputes.

And while one of the hallmarks of the firm’s London office recently has been marquee hires, White & Case also looks to the future through its graduate trainee programme, which continues to expand. Over the past five years, more than 130 graduates have completed the training and joined the firm.

Third place
  • Ropes & Gray

Part of the reason for Ropes & Gray’s tremendous success in the City recently has been its clear strategy. Over the past five years, the firm has built out a corporate finance capability geared to the needs of a post-crisis economy.

Ropes’ build-out in London is directly aligned to the firm’s expansion globally. In 2007, the firm had six offices, all based across the US. It now has 11 offices globally. The firm’s 100-strong London team was created post global financial crisis, which means its skill sets match exactly with the new requirements of clients in this new business environment.

Underlining Ropes’ success in London is the fact that it recently signed a 20-year lease for new premises that allows for substantial growth.

  • Covington
  • Jones Day
  • Noerr
  • Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan
  • Wiersholm