DLA Piper UK LLP

  • Overview

THE SCOOP

 

With more than 3,700 lawyers and 67 offices across 27 countries, today's DLA Piper is one of the largest law firms in the world by number of lawyers. It is also the fifth-largest international legal practice in the UK by turnover and has more than 2,800 people and eight offices in the major UK commercial centres of Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Sheffield.

Size isn't everything

As the industry tide has turned against the obsession with size, DLA Piper has had a predictably rough time trimming back-though, it must be said, firms of all sizes are struggling with cost-cutting measures amid the current economic downturn. In December 2008, DLA Piper launched a redundancy consultation that resulted in the loss of 40 jobs in real estate and finance-related practices across the UK. Two months later, a fresh round of redundancies in the firm's UK offices led to the departures of 24 fee earners and 100 support staff. The firm also announced the layoff of 80 associates and 100 staff in its US offices. In March 2009, DLA faced insurrection from its UK ranks, as details emerged regarding the firm's redundancy programme. Staff criticised the firm for drafting a compensation package that, while it met the statutory minimum, was less generous than that offered by rival firms. Meanwhile, associates in DLA Piper's US offices have had their salaries reduced and US partners face pay cuts of 11.5 per cent because of an anticipated drop in profits for 2009.

Global firm for a global crisis

In view of the credit meltdown, the UK-based Joint CEO Nigel Knowles (who was recently named a knight of the realm) is pinning his ambitions to a client roster of companies that are less affected by worsening market conditions. The deteriorating global economy has many a firm repackaging and rebranding its capabilities in response, and DLA is no exception. In January 2009, DLA announced the creation of its Financial Crisis Response Team, a global, multidisciplinary group focused on supporting clients as they navigate uncertain financial climates. The firm's US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East offices are banding together to support clients in refinancing, restructuring, asset sales and purchases, complex securities, clearing and settlement matters, regulatory issues and risk management.

By concentrating on mid-tier work-rather than the snazzy, big-banner corporate deals that fed many a BigLaw beast during the last decade-DLA Piper managed to sustain growth in the midst of a financial crisis. But it still likes the big names: The firm counts more than half of the Fortune 250 and nearly half of the FTSE 350 or their subsidiaries as clients. Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's leading brewer, for example, become the latest name in 2009 to join famous household brands, including Mothercare, Ronseal and Parker Pen, to receive UK branding advice from the Sheffield office of DLA. And in early May 2009, auction house Christie's announced it had hired DLA Piper and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom to head up a newly streamlined panel of legal advisers.

Work around the world

As expected, DLA Piper's client base is spread around the world, with a focus on core areas such as corporate and finance, employment, pensions and benefits, franchise and distribution, regulatory and government affairs, litigation and arbitration, intellectual property, real estate and tax. In the first quarter of 2009, DLA Piper's capital markets practice advised the government of Indonesia on its successful $3 billion bond offering, and its China offices advised on the first two IPOs listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange: those of Strong Petrochemical Holdings Limited and China Singyes Solar Technologies Holdings Limited.

In the UK, DLA recently secured a key role on the £7.5 billion deal to manufacture a replacement fleet of intercity trains, advising the winning consortium Agility Trains, which is comprised of Barclays, Hitachi and developer John Laing. The transaction represents the largest investment in trains in the UK for a generation. The firm is also advising on the private equity buyout of Entertainment Rights, the media company behind iconic brands including Postman Pat and Rupert the Bear.

Corporate lawyers in the Yorkshire offices of DLA Piper topped a league table for deals completed in 2008, matching its ranking as the top dealmaker for 2008 by volume globally in merger markets. Highlights included the £100 million auction sale of the UK business of Uponor Corporation and the sale of Hillfoot Steel. The practice also acted on the buyouts of Cloud Electronics, Albatross Travel Group, Wincro Metal Industries Ltd, Bedford & Havenhand and CMD Ltd, as well as deals for local clients ZOO Digital, CPL, Camwatch, Sheffield University and Leger Holidays.

Mixing it up in the Middle East

DLA Piper's latest foray into the Middle East was the opening of an Oman office, but the firm has run into some trouble in the area as 2009 wears on. In April, the firm announced a restructuring of its Middle East practice, amid reported payment problems with clients in the region. The firm laid off eight associates in Dubai and placed almost 20 per cent of the remaining lawyers on sabbaticals or secondments. DLA Piper's other offices in the Arabian Gulf include Abu Dhabi, Doha and Kuwait. It is also scaling back in Asia, announcing in March 2009 the layoffs of 20 lawyers and 34 support staff, with the majority of the cuts to be made in the firm's Hong Kong office.

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DLA Piper UK LLP


3 Noble Street
London EC2V 7EE
Phone: +44 (0)87 0011 1111
www.dlapiper.com

STATS


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Global Chairman: Francis B. Burch Jr
  • Total No. Attorneys 2009: 3,700

Major Office Locations

  • Vienna, Austria
  • Salzburg, Austria
  • Manama, Bahrain
  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Antwerp, Belgium
  • Shanghai, China
  • Beijing, China
  • Zagreb, Croatia
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • La Jolla, CA
  • San Diego, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Silicon Valley, CA
  • Washington, DC
  • Tampa, FL
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Boston, MA
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Bergen, NJ
  • Cherry Hill, NJ
  • New York, NY
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Austin, TX
  • Dallas, TX
  • Houston, TX
  • Reston, VA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Oslo, Norway
  • Masqat-matrah, Oman
  • Warsaw, Poland
  • Prague, Poland
  • Doha, Qatar
  • Bucharest, Romania
  • Moscow, Russia
  • St. Petersburg, Russia
  • Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore, Singapore
  • Bratislava, Slovak Republic
  • Madrid, Spain
  • Bangkok, Thailand
  • Kiev, Ukraine
  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Leeds, United Kingdom
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Birmingham, United Kingdom
  • Glasgow, United Kingdom
  • Manchester, United Kingdom
  • Liverpool, United Kingdom
  • Sheffield , United Kingdom
  • Paris, France
  • Tbilisi, Georgia, Republic of
  • Munich, Germany
  • Frankfurt, Germany
  • Cologne, Germany
  • Hamburg, Germany
  • Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • Milan, Italy
  • Rome, Italy
  • Tokyo, Japan
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