Osborne Clarke is on stellar form. Global revenues hit €245.1m in 2016/17, up 12% per cent on the previous year. In the UK, they rose 7% from £112.9m in 2015/16 to £121m in 2016/17. In the UK, net profits grew 5% to £52.5m in 2016/17 and PEP rose from £635k to £652k. It's gone from having six offices in three countries to 20 offices over nine countries, covering Belgium, Germany, Italy, France, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Spain, the UK, and the USA.
The firm recently acted for Carphone Warhouse on its £1.7bn demerger and £500m acquisition and advised Grifols on its $4bn acquisition of Talecris and subsequent acquisition of part of Novartis for $1.7bn.
One of OC's trump cards is that its London office (which now undertakes circa 40% of the firm's work) can outsource work to its Bristol and Thames Valley offices. These have lower costs, so the firm can turn a bigger profit: great news if you're a partner, or a Bristol-based assistant keen to do City work. And the firm's new salary structure for senior assistants means that you should be appropriately paid for it.
One of the first things the previous Managing Partner Simon Beswick did was to provide a clear structure to career progression at the firm. Mid-level lawyers who've proved themselves can be promoted to associates, when they get a cash bonus, discretionary pay and a formal development programme to give them the skills they need for partnership. There's no up-or-out policy, so if you don't like the idea of sacrificing your life to the firm it's possible for you to be a long term "associate of value".
OC's headquarters have also now moved from Bristol to London, with Bristol being labelled the firm's 'home town'. This was a sensible move as its London office continues to pull in first class work and is more and more likely to be seen on deals alongside the likes of Travers Smith and Macfarlanes.
OC continues to performs extremely well in RollOnFriday's Firm of the Year survey. In 2016 it came third, in 2017 it came second and in 2018 it won the whole thing. The culture at Osborne Clarke is "excellent", said lawyers there, with "a strong emphasis on our well-being". And, just as importantly, said a trainee, "I usually leave no later than 6:30pm". Partners are "down to earth" and "treat everyone with respect and courtesy", said a senior associate.
There is a "sensible take on (having a) family life" at The OC, said an associate, where "I feel entirely supported in my career development". Management is dynamic, said several others, with one concluding that Osborne Clarke is "Small enough to listen, big enough to make some noise". As for "Sunday night dread", it is "actually a thing of the past - not something I ever thought I'd say".
Staff said the leadership was "friendly", "open" and "makes you feel valued". But it's a team effort, said others, and the "fab atmosphere" is helped by "having people in charge who really give a shit about the firm and its people".
Top quality work, rapidly rising profits and an open and meaningful career structure make OC a good egg.
NB: the salaries listed in the table are for London. You're not on quite as much in the regions. NQs in Bristol get £47k and in Reading, £50k.