Gowling WLG (UK) LLP announces draft financial results for 2015/16

12 August 2016

International law firm Gowling WLG has today announced draft annual financial results for its UK LLP for the year ending 30 April 2016.  Revenue of £184.7 million and profit before tax of £57.2 million represented increases of 2 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively. Profit per partner increased by 5.2 per cent to £364,000.

Gowling WLG was formed on 23 February 2016 through the combination of Gowlings and Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co. The new firm comprises Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP and Gowling WLG (UK) LLP which are members of Gowling WLG International Limited, a company limited by guarantee registered in England.

Although Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP does not report detailed financial results, the total revenue for both LLPs was around £410 million. This places Gowling WLG within the top 75 of global law firms ranked by revenue.

David Fennell, chief executive, Gowling WLG (UK) LLP, said: "This has been a momentous couple of years. Our firm has been transformed through the combination with Gowlings and the launch of a new international brand. This bigger platform, with added strength and experience across key sectors, has helped us to win important global mandates and positioned us alongside more established global players. We are encouraged by the variety and quality of new business opportunities, not just in Europe, but in Canada and the US and across our offices around the world."

Andrew Witts, chairman, Gowling WLG (UK) LLP, said: "Although we have entered a more uncertain period following the EU referendum result, we are better placed having launched Gowling WLG and our new Brexit Unit. The relative weakness of the pound means that UK assets offer better value, and we are investing in and leveraging our US sales team to deliver lucrative business leads alongside our Canadian colleagues. Our sector focus should also pay dividends with UK exporters in some of our key areas such as pharmaceuticals, automotive and aerospace, now more competitive than they have been for many years."

Strong sector team performances included Life Sciences which advised Heptares on a $3.375 billion global R&D and commercialisation partnership to treat neurological disorders, and the Automotive team where Gowling WLG is the only law firm in the driverless cars consortium, UK Autodrive, which aims to establish the country as a global hub for the development of autonomous vehicle technologies. The Energy team meanwhile continued to advise on major projects around the world and, in the UK, acted on one of the UK's largest ever solar M&A deals, advising Primrose Solar on the sale of four solar farms.

Highlights in practice performance included Construction and Engineering which recorded a 23 per cent increase in revenue. During the year, the over £10 million practice won key instructions including, on the non-contentious side, advising on major London development projects at New Covent Garden Market and Battersea Power Station. Its contentious practice has also grown with new instructions on large scale arbitrations domestically and internationally and continues to advise on some of the most significant construction disputes heard by the courts, including an impending trip to the Supreme Court for E.ON.

Intellectual Property (IP) saw a 17 per cent increase in revenue. The team won a series of high profile court victories on behalf of clients including Comic Enterprises Limited (owner of The Glee Club) in its long running dispute with Twentieth Century Fox over the TV show Glee. Following the combination with Gowlings, it also won a number of major new mandates including the appointment by Weetabix to advise on its global IP needs including the management, protection and enforcement of its brand portfolio.

The Pensions team consolidated its position as one of the largest and most innovative teams in the UK. Highlights in the past year included completing one of Europe's largest ever insured risk transactions (£2.4 billion), advising internet-based insurer Ellipse on its new Excepted Group Life Assurance product, and winning new clients such as the Volvo Corporate Trustee, the Weetabix schemes and the Zurich Master Trust.

The Corporate team was involved in more main market IPOs than any other law firm during 2015. Of the 55 main market IPOs, the team acted on 12 of them with its role split between mandates for the issuer and the investment bank/brokers involved. The international Private Capital team meanwhile achieved a 14 per cent increase in revenue led by strong performances in East and South East Asia where it now advises clients throughout the region.

Real Estate had another good year with revenue increasing to £62 million. This was a modest increase despite the market being unsettled by the EU referendum. The team acts for a diverse range of clients including top institutions, eight out of the UK's ten largest house builders, as well as commercial investors, occupiers and other developers. Highlights included being appointed as sole legal adviser to the M&G UK Property Fund and advising on the £4 billion Brent Cross Cricklewood scheme in London. A new real estate service was also launched in Dubai with the appointment of Andrew Thomson and Melissa Younan who joined from Clyde & Co.

Munich office revenue increased by 38 per cent while Guangzhou in China delivered a 16 per cent increase in revenue. The largest overseas office, Paris, delivered 3 per cent growth.

In accordance with Limited Liability Partnership regulations, the Gowling WLG (UK) LLP accounts will be filed with the Registrar of Companies in due course.

Gowling WLG is the name and brand under which the members of Gowling WLG International Limited and their respective affiliates provide services around the world. However, Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP and Gowling WLG (UK) LLP operate and carry on business as independent and autonomous entities. They are not one international partnership and the members of Gowling WLG International Limited are not legal partners with each other. Gowling WLG International Limited does not provide legal or other services to clients. Rather, its purpose is to act as a coordinating entity for its members. Our structure is explained in more detail on our Legal Information page.

Media contacts

Rebecca Scully Head of Corporate Communications (UK) Birmingham