BLP becomes first law firm to be named Law Firm of the Year by both Legal Week and The Lawyer in the same year

International law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has become the only firm to be named Law Firm of the Year at both the British Legal Awards and The Lawyer Awards, in the same year.  The firm is also the only firm that has ever won the title at The Lawyer’s twice, having previously been named the winners in 2004.

The achievement was confirmed at the British Legal Awards on Thursday 2 December, which followed BLP’s success at the The Lawyer Awards in June. Both sets of judges highlighted the firm’s creativity and innovation, as well as the high quality service it delivers to clients and its strong commercial performance.

The firm’s 2010 highlights include: continued international expansion in emerging markets particularly in Singapore and Moscow; an aggressive lateral appointment strategy; launching and developing market leading innovations like Managed Legal Service and Lawyers on Demand; and posting a 30% increase in H1 results compared to this time last year. 

International expansion in emerging markets: BLP made further progress on its programme of international expansion in emerging markets in 2010. GBLP is the only Russian international law firm with an office practising both international and local law and continued to grow in 2010. The firm opened a new office in Abu Dhabi last year.  Most recently, BLP expanded its Singapore office with the hire of a six person team from Holman Fenwick Willan led by Alistair Duffield, who will be BLP’s South East Asia managing partner.

Lateral hires: The challenging economic environment presented BLP with a number of opportunities to hire market-leading experts from other firms. Since January 2009, BLP has made 23 partner level lateral hires including:

·  Finance partner Andrew Bamber from Allen & Overy

·  Dispute resolution partner Nic Fletcher from Clifford Chance

·  Private client partner Murray North from Clifford Chance

·  New finance DMP Matthew Kellett from RBS, AIG and previously Linklaters

·  Real estate partner James Knox from Linklaters

·  Real estate disputes partner Michael Metliss from SJ Berwin

Market leading innovations: BLP’s unique Managed Legal Service offering was launched in 2010. It offers a high-quality option for clients to move part or all of their legal function to BLP creating significant savings, budgetary control and quality improvements. Thames Water appointed BLP as exclusive legal services provider in a five-year fixed price deal in April, and in September BLP was appointed by Colt on an exclusive basis to meet all its employment law needs. Another example of BLP innovation is Lawyers on Demand, an alternative resourcing option for in-house legal teams, that creates a pool of flexible contract lawyers who are available to clients for specific assignments. The number of lawyers out on assignments increased by 50% in the first half of this year. The programme not only enables BLP to engage with new clients and enhance existing relationships, but allows it to utilise a growing contingent of associates looking for more flexible working arrangements. 

Financial Performance:  In the last full financial year, BLP was one of only four top 50 firms to experience growth in both revenue and PEP and was the only firm to grow both measures by more than 5%. Furthermore, BLP had the highest revenue growth in the UK top 30 law firms. At the half-year stage for 2010/11, BLP fee income for the first six months was £103m, up 30% on the same period last year, almost twice what any other top 20 law firm has reported to date.

BLP managing partner Neville Eisenberg said: “This achievement reflects an exceptional firmwide effort building on an already strong reputation for quality and market leading client innovation and is all the more impressive given the tough economic environment in which it has been achieved.”

“The firm’s ability to respond creatively – not only to the recession but also to anticipate major changes in the legal market as a whole – that deserves credit and is the reason behind its winning Law Firm of the Year at The Lawyer Awards.”  The Lawyer.

BLP has been the definition of the innovative, upwardly-mobile City law firm. If anything, BLP has in recent years become even more imaginative.”  Legal Week.
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