A year since it edged past the £100m barrier, revenue at tech-heavy law firm Fieldfisher rose by 9% to reach £113m in the last financial year and put its spate of flat results following the financial crisis behind it.
Income at the firm rose by £9m, up from £104m in the 2013/14 financial year to £113m this year. Over a five year period it gives the firm a 23% increase though most of that growth been generated in the past two when revenues have grown by 19% or nearly £20m on the £95m pulled in during the 2012/13 financial year.
However, the most recent LLP fillings showed the firm’s net debt levels nearly doubled at the end of 2013/14 from £5.3m to £10.2m. Michael Chissick (pictured), Fieldfisher managing partner, told Legal Business: ‘We borrowed to move but we are paying it down very quickly. Most of it will be gone by the end of the next calendar year.’
The revenue growth, supported by a string of M&A deals in the tech space with the firm’s corporate practice seeing the steepest rise in billings, helped to propel profits per equity partner (PEP) back to pre-recession levels with the firm claiming its PEP rose by 22% in the 12 months to 30 April, up from £416,000 in 2013/14 to £506,000 last year. The firm’s Paris office also performed strongly with billings rising by 15% to over £8m for the year.
Highlights include an instruction from Japan’s Recruit Holdings on its £112.5m purchase of a majority share in hair and beauty booking website Wahanda, advising the UK Department of Health on a project exploring the privatisation parts of the NHS and providing legal advice to the Lunar Mission One programme to land on the Moon’s South Pole by 2025.
Fieldfisher merged with Manchester-based Heatons at the start of 2014 in a move that added £3.4m of revenue to the firm’s books and provided a cost-efficient hub to direct work to from London.
Chissick said: ‘We’ve turned a corner. We’re changing the way we work, we’re changing the premises, we’re changing the brand, we’re changing the technology and we’re changing everything. It’s turned the business around.’