Slaughter and May
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|Headquarters||London, United Kingdom|
|No. of offices||Four|
|No. of lawyers||Approximately 560|
|No. of employees||Approximately 1,140|
|Major practice areas||General practice|
|Key people||Steve Cooke (Senior Partner)|
Paul Stacey (Executive Partner) David Wittmann (Practice Partner)
|Revenue||£571.0 million (2017/18)|
|Profit per equity partner||£2.7 million (2017/18)|
|Date founded||1889 (London)|
|Company type||General partnership|
Slaughter and May was founded on 1 January 1889 by William Capel Slaughter and William May. The firm's first office was located at 18 Austin Friars in the City of London. In 1974, the firm opened an office in Hong Kong, being the first London law firm to establish a presence there. During the 1980s and 1990s, the firm acted on a number of privatisations in the United Kingdom, including those of British Airways, British Gas and British Steel Corporation.
In 2002, Slaughter and May moved to its current London office at One Bunhill Row. Slaughter and May closed its New York office in September 2004 and its Singapore office in October 2004, instead referring its U.S. work to Wall Street firms and its Southeast Asia work to the Australian firm of Allens Arthur Robinson. In December 2005, Slaughter and May agreed to cede its Paris office to the French law firm Bredin Prat. In 2009, the firm opened an office in Beijing, China, to focus mainly on M&A and outbound and inbound investment.
In comparison to the other Magic Circle firms, Slaughter and May has a minimal overseas presence. Its international practice largely relies on relationships with local law firms in other countries, many of which themselves have minimal overseas presence, and thus do not compete with Slaughter and May. These closely associated firms have included Clayton Utz, Corrs Chambers Westgarth and Gilbert + Tobin in Australia; Bell Gully in New Zealand; BonelliErede, Bredin Prat, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, Hengeler Mueller and Uría Menéndez in continental Europe; Shin & Kim and Kim & Chang in South Korea; and three of the Big Four law firms in Japan.
Slaughter and May is one of the most prestigious law firms in the world, and in 2015 earned the highest profit per equity partner (PEP) of any UK law firm. It is considered to be one of the most prestigious UK law firms, even though the salaries which it pays to junior lawyers have fallen behind competitors such as Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and most US law firms in London.
In 2015, the firm represented 33 clients on the FTSE 100 and 44 clients on the FTSE 250, more than any other firm at the time, including governments, entrepreneurs, funds to leading banks, retailers, entertainment companies, industrial conglomerates and professional sports clubs.
In Brussels, its practice areas are competition, financial regulation, data protection, as well as trade issues raised by Brexit.
In May 2018, Rachel Reeves, a Labour Party member of the UK parliament, criticized the firm for not being "open and transparent" over its supposed failure to include equity partners in its gender pay gap report. This criticism was in spite of the fact that gender pay gap reporting in the UK only applies to the salaries of employees, rather than the profits of the employer. As such the equity partners of the firm are not paid a salary, instead they take equal shares in the firm's equity.
In May 2018, a report by a joint inquiry of members of the UK parliament criticized the firm for billing more than £8 million for legal advice to Carillion from when its dire financial position became clear in May 2017 to its eventual collapse in January 2018. Members of parliament said that "names such as Slaughter and May, Lazard, Morgan Stanley and EY were brandished by the board as a badge of credibility. But the appearance of prominent advisers proves nothing other than the willingness of the board to throw money at a problem and the willingness of advisory firms to accept generous fees". The report added that "by the end, a whole suite of advisers, including an array of law firms, were squeezing fee income out of what remained of the company. £6.4m disappeared on the last working day alone as the directors pleaded for a taxpayer bailout". Rachel Reeves, the Labour MP who chaired the Commons business committee, said that after the accountancy firms "it was Carillion’s legal advisers who took the big payouts in the company’s dying days".
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