Herbert Smith Freehills has achieved another record financial year for the financial year ending April 2022.
Revenue stood at its highest ever level of £1.103 billion, up 6% from £1.038 billion last year, while profit per equity partner increased 6% up from £1,099,000 at the 2021 year end to £1,163,000.
Profits were also up by 4% to £381.2 million.
The firm’s New York office was a stand-out success story, according to CEO Justin D’Agostino, with the base growing in revenue by 20%.
According to the D’Agostino, the team hired from Hogan Lovells in November 2021 contributed hugely towards that uplift, which was also driven by the firm’s established European and Asia based clients instructing the firm on inbound work in the U.S. He is committed to further growth, adding: “we doubled the floor plate in New York and we want to fill that”.
The most lucrative practices for the firm were its corporate and transactional teams, with some of the biggest transactions for the firm this year included Sydney Aviation Alliance’s $32 billion acquisition of Sydney Airport, and BHP’s A$40 billion merger with Woodside.
The firm’s London office grew its revenue by 6% and profits by 4%, HSF CFO Steve Bowers said, adding lateral partners including Mayer Brown’s global insurance co-head Will Glassey during the financial year.
Meanwhile there was a “small” cost saving associated with the shuttering of its Russian operations, which had previously contributed 3% of the firm’s annual revenues, according to Bowers.
In an interview with Law.com International in February D’Agostino said by 2025 the firm’s senior management wants to see the Asian business arm to make up “at least” 20% of the firm’s total revenue.
The firm has just closed a global project to source its peoples’ views on its employment value proposition, with D’Agostino set to review the results soon.
“This is still another year about people,” he noted. “It’s easy when we’re sitting with the sun shining, drinking Pimms to think that things are going well but people are still struggling with the pandemic. That has made it a very difficult year for people, particularly combined with high levels of client demand.”
The firm promoted a record number of its lawyers to partnership earlier this year and in London boosted NQ salary to £120,000 as it keeps junior retention front of mind.
He is optimistic about the future, despite economic headwinds so far this year including rising costs, inflation, geopolitical tensions and the Ukraine invasion. He predicted that last year’s M&A boom is “unlikely to continue at same pace” as a result.