- Revenue of £879 million, up 10% on the previous financial year (£798 million in 2022) and an increase of 74% over the last seven years;
- Profit per equity partner of £1.170 million, which is in line with the firm's highest PEP on record in FY22 (£1.175 million) and an increase of 94% over the last seven years;
- Strong performance in all regions, in particular Continental Europe, the Middle East and the US;
- All global divisions showing year on year growth, with notable uptick in the Projects, Energy Transition & Real Estate and Disputes, Investigations & Advisory divisions, and the Digital Economy Transactions, Financial Regulatory and Restructuring practices;
- Strategic focus on our five key industries drove over 85% of the firm's revenue;
- Increased demand for the firm's NewLaw and legal-led consulting businesses delivered revenue growth of over 25% and 60% respectively, including the launch of the Risk Advisory business into the UK;
- Established Ashurst Korea JV, becoming the first global firm permitted to practice Korean law since the legal market opened in 2011;
- Investment in and reconfiguration of office space has seen the firm deliver on its 2023 target to improve the efficiency of space by 20% across our 31 offices (compared to 2019 levels); and
- Recorded over 57,800 hours of pro bono work from our leading international pro bono practice working on over 650 matters, including supporting the Safe Passage Ukraine project.
"In the last financial year the firm has performed strongly, with our FY23 results marking our seventh consecutive year of revenue growth," Paul Jenkins, Ashurst's Global CEO said. "We have grown significantly in the past seven years, with revenue growing 8% on average each year over that period, and growth accelerating in the past three years."
Paul Jenkins added that maintaining a clear focus on the firm's strategy, coupled with an emphasis on collaboration, has seen the firm exceed the goals set four years ago in its 2023 Strategy. "Our consistent focus on our 2023 goals, together with doubling down on the areas in which we have significant strength – our industries and our NewLaw and legal-led consulting businesses - has been extremely effective. We can look back at the bold targets we set in our last strategic plan and feel proud of what we have achieved. We are in a strong position as we embark on our new 2027 Strategy, and our next four-years of growth."
"We accomplished a great deal in FY23 for our clients, and that is thanks to the collaboration and culture of mutual support across our global teams. In addition to working on some excellent mandates and delivering outstanding outcomes for our clients around the world, the energy, drive and commitment of our people continues to contribute significantly to the success of our business," said Global Chair, Karen Davies.
Strong practice and industry performance
- The firm's focus on Continental Europe and the Middle East delivered double digit growth in both regions, with a particularly impressive trajectory of growth in Germany. The UK, Continental Europe and the Middle East now account for over 50% of total firm revenue.
- The global Disputes, Investigations & Advisory practices once again delivered impressive results, with triple digit growth in Germany and the Middle East and double digit growth in the global Dispute Resolution, Competition, Employment, IP & Media and Tax practices.
- The global Projects & Energy Transition practices have experienced strong growth, with notable increases in Australia, US, Germany and France, reflecting the firm's strategic focus on infrastructure and the energy transition, including a five partner global energy team (London, Singapore and South Korea) joining from Shearman & Sterling.
- An increase in inbound M&A from China into South East Asia has seen the Corporate practice in Asia, in particular, deliver a standout performance - achieving significant growth in Singapore, China and Indonesia. The firm also expanded its Southeast Asia practice with the appointment in Singapore of a four person M&A powerhouse team.
- In the US, the firm delivered a strong performance, with the US projects team continuing to be recognised as a Tier 1 practice for infrastructure by the major legal directories. Ashurst has acted on landmark projects including advising the Austin Transport Partnership on the development of Austin’s first light rail line.
"Focusing on our clients' needs, understanding their industries and the global trends they face has allowed us to provide a seamless service to our clients. Over 85% of the firm's work is now generated from our priority industries, and in the year ahead we will continue to reinforce our leadership in the Banks, Energy, Infrastructure, Private Capital, Real Estate and Technology sectors," said Paul Jenkins.
Transforming and growing the business
- In a market first, the firm entered into a joint venture with Korean law firm HwaHyun, significantly expanding its existing outbound Korean practice by building a local presence.
- Continued strong growth of the NewLaw division, Ashurst Advance, with revenue growth of over 25% and continued market recognition - being ranked Band 1 in Chambers Alternative Legal Services Providers Guide 2023 (Law Firm LPO – Global) for the fourth year running.
- The firm embraced legal-led consulting, expanding its Risk Advisory business into the UK in response to client demand, with a four partner team.
- The Risk Consulting practice is now one of the fastest growing parts of the firm, in less than three years of operation, and delivered another year of solid results, with over 60% revenue growth.
"We are determined to keep pushing boundaries to ensure we can provide the best solutions to clients' needs – now and in the future. A good example of this is the firm's legal-led consulting model, which focuses on a lifecycle of client needs and provides a more holistic perspective to legal practice. This end-to-end integrated solutions approach – combining legal services with risk consulting and NewLaw delivery solutions – is now integrated across the firm.
"We are also leading the way for our Korean clients through the launch of Ashurst Korea JV – the first joint venture between an international firm and a Korean firm in South Korea, not to mention a major milestone in the opening up of Korea's legal market," Paul Jenkins said.
Collaborative and entrepreneurial culture
- Embarked on a series of strategic hires with the appointment of 28 lateral partners in last financial year, and promoted internally a record number of 25 partners for the second year in a row.
- Continued to invest in new office configurations which better support the way people work and connect, as the firm delivered on its 2023 Strategy to improve the efficiency of office space globally by 20% compared to 2019 levels.
- Launched GET DIGITAL across the global firm, which aims to embed digital into the DNA of the firm – driving how we do things, how we work together and how we serve our clients.
"Last financial year we continued to invest in our people, promoting a record number of partners internally for the second year in a row. We have a strong pipeline of talent and we are committed to providing career pathways for our top performers. To help support our growth plans we are continuing to target lateral hires, strategically aligning and expanding our expertise in those areas that are important to our clients and align with our strengths," said Karen Davies.
Commitment to being an inclusive and responsible business
- Made strides in taking forward the firm's 10 Sustainability Goals, including achieving its goal of a 30% paper reduction and elimination of single use plastics and a reduction in footprint making a 20% improvement in water, utilities and energy, remaining committed to reducing the environmental impact of our way of working.
- In FY23 Ashurst lawyers recorded over 57,800 hours of pro bono work on 650 matters, including supporting the Safe Passage Ukraine project. The firm's dedicated Pacific Islands pro bono team was also recognised at the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Awards Asia Pacific 2023, taking the title for Innovation in Responsible Business.
- Maintained a sustained focus on our inclusion, diversity & belonging initiatives, including providing a number of training courses and events directly to clients to support their internal IDB strategies. The firm continues to make good progress against its IDB targets and this continues to be an important part of Ashurst's 2027 Strategy.
"As we grow in scale, and compete for the best talent, it's more important than ever that we make Ashurst somewhere where everyone feels valued and is able to thrive. Putting diversity, inclusion and belonging at the heart of what we do is a core part of our values and allows us to create diverse and innovative teams, to do the best work, support colleagues and to help our clients outpace change," Karen Davies said.
"I am very pleased that we have reported seven consecutive years of growth, and have delivered on our 2023 Strategy. Our 2027 Strategy was launched earlier in the year at our Los Angeles Partners' Conference - with a plan to continue our significant growth trajectory and be known for 'outpacing change'.
"We've started the financial year well with all divisions and regions reporting a good pipeline of work. I am confident that we will continue to build on our successes and now achieve the goals we have set for the next four years," Paul Jenkins said.
Paul added that the firm's sustained focus on anticipating the needs of clients has positively influenced the firm's business output while reinforcing its people-first culture. "From talking to clients we know that a number of trends are front of mind as they think about the years ahead - digitalisation, sustainability and the drive to net zero, the evolution in the way we live and work, and changing global dynamics. I am confident that by continuing to see these issues from the perspective of our clients, we can cement our position as a leading global law firm while helping our clients plan for the future."
Karen Davies concluded: "I'm proud that we have achieved our seventh consecutive year of growth, particularly against challenging global economic headwinds in the past financial year. It is all down to the tireless work and collaboration throughout Ashurst, demonstrating yet again that our people are core to everything we do and achieve. Looking forward, delivering on our mandate of 'outpacing change' will be a continuous team effort and I'm confident that together we can meet this strategic ambition.
"Our 2027 strategy summarises the next era of strategic focus as we evolve as a firm, and will guide our plans for investment and growth over the next four years. It underscores our determination to be a forward-looking firm where we are able to anticipate what's next and the future opportunities and challenges for all of our clients."
Delivering successful outcomes for our clients
Representative mandates in the last financial year include advising:
- Goldman Sachs on the development and launch of its proprietary multi asset class digital platform, Digital Assets Platform by Goldman Sachs - a first of its kind platform which will fundamentally transform financial markets as we know them. (UK, Germany & France)
- Akaysha Energy on its successful bid to develop, own and operate the Waratah Super Battery Project, which is set to become one of the largest committed utility scale batteries in the world. (Australia)
- Morgan Stanley & Co. International plc and Merrill Lynch International on the £4.46 billion recommended recommendation takeover of Dechra Pharmaceuticals - one of the largest take-private deals so far this year (UK)
- Citi and UKEF on the first UKEF-guaranteed Ukraine reconstruction facility, to finance the urgent rehabilitation of six bridges and supply routes in the Kyiv region damaged or destroyed by the Russian military - one of the first commercial bank financings delivered to support the reconstruction of Ukraine (France & UK)
- ANZ in its proposed A$4.9 billion acquisition of Suncorp Bank (Australia)
- The financiers on the successful refinancing of the international Diebold Nixdorf group of companies (Germany, Brussels, UK, Spain, Italy & France)
- FIFA on legal proceedings brought by football players' agents in multiple jurisdictions (Brussels & Germany)
- Goldman Sachs on the world's first tokenised green bond issued by a government (Hong Kong, UK & Australia)
- A global organisation in relation to a significant ransomware attack, with the support being delivered by an integrated team from across all of the firms legal practices, risk consulting business and NewLaw delivery solutions (UK & Australia)
- UEFA in relation to the SuperLeague case before the European Court of Justice (Brussels)
- Citibank on the establishment of a securitisation warehouse facility backed by small and medium-sized enterprises loans originated by Validus, Singapore's leading SME financing platforms - a first-of-its-kind collaboration between a large global bank and a fintech in Southeast Asia (Singapore)
- The largest single claimant in the UK follow on damages litigation against several major truck manufacturers arising from the European Commission's truck cartel findings - the largest ever follow on damages individual claim before the English courts (UK)
- The Maryland Department of Transport on the $10 billion Maryland Capital Beltway Project (US)
- Lendlease on the acquisition of 21 Moorfields from Land Securities plc - one of the largest ever single asset deals in the UK or Europe (UK)
- The new investment solar platform formed by Alantra Solar - N-Sun Energy – on the acquisition of a solar portfolio (Spain & Italy)
- The Austin Transport Partnership on the development of Austin’s first light rail line (US)
- On the US$3.8 billion strategic project to power and decarbonize ADNOC’s offshore operations (UAE & UK)
- Acting for a major gas player in a $1 billion + arbitration following termination of its investment in a new project in Africa (Paris, UK & UAE)