Legal Business Blogs

Financials 2017/18: Revenue ticks over for Stephenson Harwood but profits dip again

Stephenson Harwood has recorded a 6% rise in revenues to £189m but suffered a consecutive year of falling profit per equity partner (PEP), down 6% to £664,000.

The results are less polarised than last year, where revenue grew 11% but PEP fell by 9%

Chief executive Sharon White (pictured) described the performance as ‘decent without being standout’, adding: ‘We are pleased that we have continued to grow our revenues. We have had a good run of growth over many years so it’s good to see that continue. Our PEP is down but we were expecting that. We ended up a little ahead of budget actually. It wasn’t a surprise to us or our partners.’

White attributed the declining PEP to both an increase in partnership numbers and long-term investment: ‘It’s about getting a balance between the short-term and what you invest for the future. This year we’ve spent a lot investing for the future’. She added: ‘When I look at the PEP, it will still compare well with peer firms.’

While this year’s results are mixed on a like-for-like basis, Stephenson Harwood has sustained above-trend growth over a five year stretch: In 2012/13 the firm’s turnover was at £112.3m, meaning it has grown by 68% on a five-year view. Over the same period, PEP has grown 47%.

White also said the firm’s corporate, employment and pensions and marine and international trade departments had particularly strong years. Stephenson Harwood won the coveted Corporate Team of the Year accolade at the 2018 Legal Business Awards.

Overall, the result is a positive step towards the firm’s stated ambition to reach a turnover of £200m by the year 2021.

Stephenson Harwood joins Simmons & Simmons and Ashurst in releasing 2017/18 financial results this week. Simmons  recorded a 12% hike in revenues to hit £354m while Ashurst  posted a modest 4% uptick in turnover accompanied by a stronger 11% PEP growth.