Well known for its historical strength in private client and
family matters, today's Charles Russell has added considerable
clout to its corporate and commercial teams, and three-quarters of
its current workload is in these areas. More broadly, the
firm is based around corporate and commercial, real estate,
litigation and dispute resolution, employment and pensions, private
client and family practices. The firm's clients are a mixture
of governments, not-for-profit organizations, and FTSE and
AIM-listed businesses, together with private individuals.
Among its most lauded clients are easyJet, JP Morgan Cazenove,
Honda GP, The FA, Arcadia Group, Sainsburys, Marie Curie Cancer
Care and ITN. In 2009, the firm broke onto The Sunday
Times' list of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" for the
first time, one of just 11 law firms that made the cut.
All the right moves
With the coming of 2009 came Charles Russell's decision to move
its headquarters to British Land's 85,000-square-foot Ludgate West
development, close to St Paul's Cathedral. Outside of London,
the firm has a highly commended network of regional offices and is
proud of its position as the only law firm operating offices in
both Oxford and Cambridge. In 2009, the firm's Oxford,
Cambridge, Guildford and Cheltenham offices all received
commendations from Chambers & Partners' legal directory.
The Cambridge office was recognized for the strength of its
employment team in particular, while Guildford's family and
property litigation teams received high praise.
Plenty of partners
Even as many firms began to feel the effects of the credit crisis,
Charles Russell remained busy. The firm saw a 13.1 per cent
rise in turnover in 2007-2008 and a 10.2 per cent climb in average
partner profits. Charles Russell brought 13 of its associates
up to partnership level in 2008, while 17 staff joined the
associate ranks: an increase of 67 per cent on the previous year's
firm-wide promotions. The increase in numbers followed a
successful period of expansion which had seen the firm open its
debut office in Bahrain in September 2007 and healthy revenue
growth of 12 per cent for the financial year 2007-2008.
Several lateral hires boosted the firm's numbers even
further. In September 2008, Kate O'Rourke was brought on
board from Dechert as senior counsel to augment Charles Russell's
intellectual property team. Pervaze Ahmed moved from the
London office to the Gulf to act as a contact for Middle Eastern
clients looking for property in the UK.
What credit crunch?
Managing to maintain its weighty corporate workload throughout
2008, Charles Russell reported that the total value of M&A
transactions for the year was its second-highest, only topped by
2007. Among the more significant deals in 2008, the firm
advised JPMorgan Cazenove and Canaccord Adams in connection with
Gemfields Resources' reverse takeover by Krinera and Greentop,
owners of the Kagem emerald mine in Zambia; acted for Jefferies
International Limited, as nominated advisor and broker, on Gasol's
£60.7 million takeover of African LNG Holdings Limited; and advised
Kittiwake, a supplier of marine and military test equipment, in its
acquisition of 55 per cent of Krystallon's share capital from BP
International. The head of Charles Russell's Oxford office,
Peter Elliott, led the team advising Kittiwake. A month
earlier, Elliott had also led on the £59.8 million sale of exotic
juice manufacturer Groupe Rubicon to listed soft drinks company
In 2008, the firm represented new client KPMG Corporate Finance,
as nominated advisor, and BMO Capital Markets Limited, as broker,
on the $90 million placing and admission to AIM of Chariot Oil and
Gas Limited. Charles Russell advised Westminster Group, a
specialist provider of security solutions, on its acquisition of
Longmoor Services Limited in February 2009.