Bird & Bird's financial performance 2011/2012

31 July 2012

Bird & Bird today revealed that its audited accounts for the 2011/12 financial year confirmed that the firm had delivered another strong performance with revenue growing 13% to €271.3m (£235.0m [see note a]). This places the firm in the largest 100 law firms globally (see note b). The firm also announced that it had continued its ten year record of continuous profit growth with a 15% increase in net profit, which rose to €91.2m (£79m [see note a]), returning partner profit to the levels of 2008.

David Kerr, Bird & Bird’s CEO, commented: “We have pursued a sector focused approach since the 90s and our continued growth reflects the success of that strategy. To meet the needs of clients in our key sectors, we have expanded internationally and our growth comes from successfully building new offices as well as delivering excellent client service in our existing locations. As a result, every country has grown its fee income, despite the challenging markets.”

International growth

During 2011/12 the firm continued to expand internationally to assist clients in its key industries. It opened its first Middle Eastern office in Abu Dhabi, a fourth German office in Hamburg and established association agreements with firms in Denmark, Morocco and Tunisia. As a result the firm was able to advise clients based in 118 countries.

Despite uncertainty around the Euro, the firm experienced double digit growth in its Eurozone-based operations, as well as in Asia. A tenth of the partnership is now based in China and Singapore and the firm expects Asia to represent 20% of the firm in the next 3-5 years.

Sector focus

The focus on key industries also helped deliver strong revenue increases in the firm’s key sectors. This year Bird & Bird saw strong growth in revenue from clients in the media sector and opened an office in Hamburg to develop its capability for the increasingly internet-based industry. It also brought key expertise into its energy & utilities team and saw revenues in that area grow significantly, at a time when technology has played a greater role in areas such as renewable energy.

There was strong growth as well for more established sector groups, such as IT and key practice groups, such as intellectual property.  The firm's corporate practice also grew significantly both in revenues and headcount, with several partner promotions and hires to the corporate team.

Developing our capability

In the course of the financial year, the firm promoted 15 people to partner and welcomed 20 more from other firms and companies. As well as significantly strengthening the energy and utilities team, the firm developed its corporate practice capability with nine new partners for the team so far in 2012. The firm now has over 250 partners globally, with 30% based in the UK, 10% in Asia and the remaining 60% in the rest of the EMEA region.

David Kerr added: “Trading conditions in many of our key markets have been very difficult but we have continued to invest in providing career progression and development opportunities for younger lawyers within the firm. Our reputation in sectors has also helped attracted highly experienced experts to join own teams, who enable us to bring in higher quality work.

“Going forward we will continue to focus on delivering deep industry knowledge, international reach and excellent client service and responding to the continuing challenges of the legal service market.”

a) According to LB Global 100, July 2012
b) Euro to sterling conversions based on the average of the exchange rates that applied across the year.