Lawyers on Demand (LOD) has recorded an 18% upsurge in turnover for the 2015/16 financial year, according to its latest filings with Companies House. Revenues rose from £12.3m to £14.6m in the last financial year.
Despite the rising turnover, LOD’s operating profit tumbled from £987,000 to £200,000 over the year, with the accounts stating this was due to ‘one-off exceptional items.’ The accounts state that £255,000 was spent on new technology during 2016.
LOD chief executive Tom Hartley told Legal Business this technology spend was primarily on Spoke, the online legal marketplace that the company launched in the summer of 2016, but that ‘a lot of investment’ was put into the service in the previous year.
Directors at the company saw their salaries increase, with the highest paid director pocketing £495,000 over the year. This is a 46% jump from 2015’s figure of £269,000.
Hartley commented: ‘I joined the business and we hadn’t had a chief executive before and that changes the dynamic.
‘We’re very happy with the profitability, the final profit number was almost entirely determined by the merger with AdventBalance.’
Net debt also saw a decline over the year, falling from £671,000 in 2015 to £336,000 in 2016. However, Hartley took out a £350,000 loan in 2016, repayable over five years. At the end of the financial year, the loan had an outstanding balance of £315,000.
Hartley said: ‘[The loan] was part of me joining the company to take some equity in the business. That was the mechanism by which I did that.
He added: ‘It’s not part of remuneration that allows me to go and buy cars and things. It’s completely tied to the mechanism by which I took equity in the business.’
LOD’s parent company Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) saw a 2% drop in revenue and profitability due to their 50% stake investment in AdventBalance last year.
In February 2016, LOD merged with Australian-based freelance lawyer service AdventBalance to create a £25m business.