This award highlights the UK-based national or regional firm (with headquarters outside of London) that has made the most significant progress over the past year in advancing its strategy. Key factors taken into account will be evidence of effective leadership, impressive financial performance and increased market share across the firm’s major practice areas.
2017 WINNER: Brodies
Scotland’s major legal success story of the last decade posted yet another exceptional year in 2015/16, cementing its position as the leading Scottish independent. With the independence referendum, the oil price collapse and Brexit creating difficult times north of the border, to post market-leading financial performance and organic growth is exceptional.
Sussex firm DMH Stallard had a strong year, with revenue up 16% from £21m to £24.3m and PEP up 10%, which has been part of a continued run of success following two law firm acquisitions in 2015. Revenues of £27m are anticipated this year, with double-digit profit growth also predicted.
A sizeable Midlands firm that has been active in the merger market in recent years, Freeths announced a revenue increase of 14% from £55.9m to £63.9m for 2015/16 and a substantial 18% jump in PEP from £307,000 to £363,000. This was the second year of double-digit revenue growth for the firm and it was one of the ten fastest-growing law firms for PEP in the LB100.
Led with verve by the energetic Darroch, Harper Macleod has become the leading challenger brand in Scotland in recent years. With turnover reaching £26m, an increase of almost 18% on the previous year and profitability rising to £9m, a 14% increase, this was an exceptional performance in a year where the firm invested in new talent, acquisitions and geographic expansion.
MILLS & REEVE
One of the key objectives of Mills & Reeve’s 2020 strategy – to grow faster than the UK top 100 law firm average – has already been achieved with Mills & Reeve’s 2015/16 financial results producing a record turnover of £87.2m. This represented a 7% increase year on year, comfortably outperforming the average growth of the UK’s top 100 firms.
Over the past three to five years managing partner Pester has stated consistently that the aim for this respected south west-based practice was to become a top 50 firm in the UK. In 2016 that aim was realised, thanks to a 15% revenue hike to £71.6m and double-digit growth in profits per equity partner.