Firm of the Year
UK City Firms
UK Regional Firms
UK Regional Firms
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UK Regional Firms
Gowling WLG (London)
The merger of two UK firms Wragge & Co and LG went live on 1st May 2014 creating the £170m firm Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co. LG had been looking for a merger partner for a while and it wasn't having much luck. It was rebuffed by Field Fisher Waterhouse and even rejected by two time Golden Turd winner Irwin Mitchell.
But Birmingham-based Wragge & Co came to its rescue in what could be more of a takeover than a merger. Turnover at LG dropped in the last financial year by 7.5% to £51.8 million, whereas Wragges' rose 1.9% to £120.5 million. More to the point, average pay for equity partners at LG was down 14% to £260k. Wragges partners, though they were charging at regional rates, took home £369k. Wragges has 121 partners and 572 other fee earners operating from its head office in Birmingham and other offices in London, Paris, Brussels, Guangzhou, and Munich, plus affiliated offices in the United Arab Emirates.
And although Wragges is keen on increasing its London presence, LG's shiny new office has been a costly disaster. The rent last year was £5.1 million. LG's Managing Partner Hugh Maule admitted it
on profits, but said that everything was fine now because lots of excess space has been sublet.
In June 2015 it made the surprise announcement that it was also merging with Canadian firm Gowlings, creating a transatlantic firm of around 620 partners. After just a few months as Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co, in February it was rechristened Gowling WLG.
As for the inside info, lawyers at Wragges praise the "
" and, more importantly, "
lots of boozing".
The firm received high praise for its catering, "
mars bar cakes ares still amazing"
though one insider comments "
They have invested in branded three tier cake stands for the afternoon tea, whilst pay rises have been dismal for the past four years".
There were grumbles about the "
regional salary, but City hours"
, but that may soon change with the merger.
Quite a different story at LG: lawyers talk of the "
lack of morale
" and "
people constantly leaving (with no replacements)
". But worse still "
there are no biscuits in the meeting rooms anymore
With the merger now in place, we'll see if any of this changes or if Gowling WLG will be a firm of two halves. With Canadian bacon on the side.
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