Global giant Baker & McKenzie has announced bumper profits for the year to 30 June in the face of adverse currency fluctuations.
But the firm warned that June’s Brexit vote is certain to have some impact on transaction levels.
The 13,000-strong firm posted a 14% rise in dollar profits to $904m (£690m), a 22% increase in constant currency. Profit per equity partner grew 13% (21%) to $1.3m ($1.36m) on income up 8% (16%) to $2.62bn.
Chairman Eduardo Leite said: 'FY16 was another strong year for Baker & McKenzie despite continued adverse foreign currency headwinds.
'Not only did we increase revenues and profitability, we also continued to lead the legal profession in terms of innovation and stronger client relationships around the world, highlighted by our awards, rankings and 67 major panel appointments in the year. And we continue to invest in our future.
'We recruited 65 lateral partners in FY16 and last month we promoted 85 partners, 34 of whom are women, matching our own record for any law firm, set last year.’
Baker’s performance is an improvement on 2014/15, when Leite blamed investment and a 'flat market for global legal services’ for a modest 2% rise in global income to $2.43bn (£1.55bn). Total billable hours rose by 5% in 2016 to 8.2m.
The firm’s most buoyant practices last year included Banking & Finance, Capital Markets and Mergers & Acquisitions, Antitrust & Competition and Intellectual Property. The Information, Technology & Communication group was the fastest growing industry sector.
Baker’s Europe, Middle East and Africa region contributed 37% of revenues - the same proportion as the US - with Asia Pacific accounting for 26%. The firm said all its regions grew by over 10% in 2015/16 on a constant currency basis.
Last Summer Baker opened a global business support centre in Belfast and it has expanded a similar centre in Manila.
Leite added: 'It remains a volatile global economy and our clients are increasingly looking for reassurance, particularly for their cross-border deals and matters.
'The recent result in the UK referendum will no doubt have some impact on transaction levels, particularly in Europe, but we believe with our full service offering and our diversified geographical footprint we are well placed to ride out any slowdown.’