Legal Business Blogs

Bristol fashion – regional leader Burges Salmon drives revenues up 6% as PEP closes in on £500,000

Top-50 UK law firm Burges Salmon has posted another year of solid growth as results released for the 2014/15 year show revenue up by 6% to £80.8m from £76.5m while profit per equity partner jumped 11% to £485,000.

Although revenue per lawyer dipped marginally to £241,000 from £247,000, overall the results mark a third consecutive year of growth for the Bristol-based practice, long established as one of the leading UK law firms based outside the City. The 76-partner firm last year saw a 4% increase in revenues, while operating profit was up 8% to £28.1m.

A breakdown of revenues for the 2014/15 trading period saw corporate and disputes generate the lion’s share of its work with 36% and 33% respectively while real estate accounted for 18% of revenue. Energy and real estate were highlighted as two of the strongest performing areas.

The result looks set to see the 335-lawyer firm place comfortably in the UK top 50 for 2015, making it one of only a handful of regional players in the grouping.

Major mandates won by Burges Salmon since last year include landing a spot on the National Local Government Pension Scheme’s recently launched legal services framework alongside 11 other firms.

Headline work included advising GDF Suez on the acquisition of West Coast Energy, acting for MeyGen on a flagship renewable energy project and advising The Co-operative Group on the sale of its farms business to Wellcome Trust.

The results come amid a starkly uneven 2015 reporting season that has seen wide disparities between winners and losers. Many leading City law firms have posted subdued results amid a stagnant European market while a pack of mid-tier UK firms have performed robustly.

Managing partner Peter Morris told Legal Business that the firm was in growth mode, commenting: ‘We’re very happy with [the financial results], particularly the improvement in operating profit and PEP. We’ve always said we’re not striving for growth for growth sake. It’s across-the-board – transactional activity was high, as was litigation, and pensions. We’re increasingly focused on our main sectors including energy, transports, PE, pensions and real estate.

‘The way national firms are going, they’re increasingly focused on different areas. We see ourselves as different to others. The way the market has changed in the last five years, we’re genuinely different and unique.’

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