WINNER

Law Firm of the Year

Osborne Clarke

It would be hard to find another firm with the same momentum as Osborne Clarke at the moment. In the 12 years under the control of managing partner Simon Beswick, who stepped down in December last year, Osborne Clarke has tripled its revenue and almost doubled its average profit per equity partner.

But the firm takes the Law Firm of the Year title not just for its solid financials. It stands out for its energy and willingness to be the first-movers into growth sectors. One example of this is its Smart Cities campaign, which combines market insight with a cross-practice, cross-border team of specialists who can provide advice on the moves to use technology to enhance performance while reducing consumption and cost in the modern urban world.

Meanwhile the firm is also showing it can look after its people, handing out firmwide bonuses after 2013/14’s stellar financial year and with a third of its employees on a formal or informal flexible working arrangement.

Its ambitions have seen it expand in the US and Asia as well as Europe and under the new combined leadership team of Beswick as international CEO, managing partner Ray Berg and senior partner Andrew Saul, the sky is the limit for this outstanding practice.

Runner up
  • Clyde & Co

Clyde & Co continues to grow steadily and successfully, rising into the UK top 15 in 2014 after a 9 per cent increase in turnover. Last year the firm added four more offices, notably launching in South Africa with a team of insurance lawyers from Linklaters ally Webber Wentzel while also growing in Australia and the US. It also formed a Saudi Arabian association, and made 27 lateral hires in 12 offices.

The firm’s focus on insurance remains strong and Clydes has adapted with ease to the price pressure and consolidation in the market, adopting strategies such as boosting the capabilities of its Manchester office to meet price requirements.

Third place
  • Stewarts Law

Litigation boutique Stewarts celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and in that time has seen consistent and considerable growth. It has maintained a profit margin of at least 35 per cent for the last decade.

The firm uses a variety of funding strategies to enable its clients to bring cases even when clients are financially outmatched, across a variety of sectors including personal injury, commercial litigation, clinical negligence and family law. Stewarts is currently preparing a number of group actions for shareholders against corporate giants such as Tesco and RBS.

Its dogged persistence in pursuing cases for clients is matched by its keen strategic focus, making this firm a deserved runner-up in this category.

Shortlisted
  • Bird & Bird
  • Dentons
  • Taylor Wessing
  • Watson Farley & Williams