Shipping and insurance specialist Ince & Co has had another disappointing year financially, with revenue down 4% from £79.4m to £76.2m. This follows on from an 8% drop in turnover last year from £86.7m, which was the worst income drop of all the UK’s top 100 law firms in 2014/15.
UK fee income at the firm stands at £42.8m, down 10% from £47.5 last year. The firm’s international senior partner Jan Heuvels said that the firm had continued to transform and invest in the business.
Heuvels (pictured) added: ‘Examples include the launch of the consultancy LLP, overhauling our remuneration system, moving to brand new offices in London, announcing our new office in Cologne, restructuring our partnership and the appointment of 19 new partners across our network. We exceeded what we expected to achieve financially last year and I am proud of this considering the current challenges in the markets in which we operate.
The last quarter of 2015/16 was our busiest since Q2 2013/14 and we have carried that through into this financial year. I therefore believe that we are beginning to reap the benefits from the improvements that we have made.’
In April the firm confirmed that it was moving away from its traditional lockstep model and introducing a bonus pool above the top of its equity to reward its highest billers.
The changes, which launched on 1 May this year, are expected to encourage a more entrepreneurial culture in a partnership that has historically struggled to keep pace with the changing maritime and insurance legal sector. It is aimed at attracting talent from other firms as Ince & Co works towards building its transactional offering which covers corporate, finance and projects.
Meanwhile, in differing fortunes, fellow LB100 firm Mills & Reeve announced a record turnover figure of £87.2m, an increase of 7% on last year’s figure of £81.6m.
As a result of the strong financial performance the firm also announced the largest ever all staff bonus pool of £1.28m equivalent to 5.2% of the firm’s salary bill.
Mills & Reeve managing partner Claire Clarke said: ‘We are delighted by this strong financial performance which was achieved through growing demand for our services over the last 12 months. It’s also a great tick in the box in terms of our 2020 firm strategy with one of our key objectives to grow faster than the top 100 average.’
Read more about Ince & Co in the feature: ‘Ports in a storm’