The combined turnover for the 19 London firms that sit in the second half of this year’s Legal Business 100 (LB100) is £894.1m, an increase of 6% but the addition of one extra firm in this group compared to last year has seen average revenue grow just 1% to £47m. However, it is in profitability terms where this group really excels: comprising Stewarts, Sacker & Partners (see case study), Fladgate and Harbottle & Lewis, this is a collection of firms that truly punch above their weight. Average profit per lawyer (PPL) is £83,000 and profit per equity partner (PEP) stands at £460,000 – an increase of 8% on last year and bucking the trend of suppressed PEP growth in other parts of the LB100.
And it is the firms that have focused practices that have excelled once more. Technology and IP firm Bristows recorded double-digit revenue and PEP growth up 12% and 16% to £50.9m and £486,000 respectively. Harbottle & Lewis, which has a large number of private clients and was again shortlisted for Law Firm of the Year at the Legal Business Awards in 2020 on the back of a striking run that has seen turnover grow 91% in five years, had another strong year in 2019/20. Turnover was up 6%, meaning the firm has moved past the £40m-revenue barrier, while PEP was up 14% to an impressive £718,000.