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Financial results 2013/14: Charles Russell’s revenue up by 7% as Weightmans posts record numbers

The first top 50 firms to unveil their 2013/14 financial results, Charles Russell and Weightmans this week each unveiled a healthy revenue increase of around 7%.

A Charles Russell spokesperson said the increase in revenue was spread across all areas of the 310-lawyer firm, which has yet to reveal its net profit for the year but expects profit per equity partner (PEP) to increase to around £350,000, constituting a 10% rise.

The revenue rise signals a marked improvement on Charles Russell’s 2012/11 turnover increase of 1% to £68.9m, although PEP for that year increased by 14% to £319,000.

The firm, which is in merger talks with Speechly Bircham, revealed in its latest limited liability partnership accounts in January that its highest paid partner took home £600,000, up from £366,000 the previous year, representing a 64% increase. It continues to pay off an £11m term loan taken in 2009 to refurbish its City offices, reducing its outstanding borrowings to £6.6m last year.

The financials are unveiled just weeks after the firm confirmed merger talks with private client firm Speechly Bircham, a proposed union that would place the combined firm in the top 30 of the LB100.

Meanwhile, national firm Weightmans has enjoyed revenue growth for 2013/14 of 6.6% across all business lines, with many practice areas exceeding annual targets. Record turnover stood at £87m for the period, an increase of £5m on the previous year. Net profit increased by 2% to £24.1m and debt was reduced from £9.6m to £3.5m, marking a reduction of 64%.

The 481-lawyer firm has seen sustained revenue growth having revealed a 6% increase in turnover last year to £82m, although its PEP figure dipped by 1% to £294,000.

Having reported a H1 revenue of £41m last November, 7% up on £38.3m at the same point the year before, Weightman’s managing partner John Schorah attributed the positive results to an around 20% increase in the firm’s corporate practice, and further highlighted a strong performance in the firm’s core insurance team, particularly in its large-loss and disease group, with commercial litigation and family also doing well.

The firm boosted also its family capability earlier this year, picking up a legacy Challinors family team in Birmingham in August.

This year also saw the firm make a capital call to salaried partners following a consultation in response to new HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) rules, with fixed share partners contributing an average of around £30,000 to the firm, totalling £3.8m – an amount that Schorah said would be invested in the firm’s development.

On the latest results, Schorah said: ‘This year we are continuing our focus on technological innovation, making significant improvements to our processes internally, but also externally enhancing client experiences. Over the next 12 months we will continue to invest in our business, for our clients and our people, and strengthen our brand as we continue to grow.’