It’s been a bumpy ride for many of the UK’s largest firms, fighting battered profits with consolidation and increased global expansion. Welcome to the Legal Business 100, where headline revenue increases hide a tougher reality
When the UK’s 62nd largest law firm by revenue is suddenly wiped off the face of the earth, despite posting a 2% revenue increase in 2011/12, you’d expect a little nervousness within the profession. Cobbetts, which went into administration in March, posted a profit per equity partner (PEP) increase of 16% in its last-ever LB100 appearance, something that many of the firms occupying the list today would gladly take. But, as it would turn out – as has been the case ever since the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers – when it comes to law firm financials, all is not what it seems. And, as the demise of Halliwells proved in 2010, it takes more than the collapse of a regional stalwart to seriously unhinge the market.