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LLP accounts: Gowling’s UK revenue and profit fall while top-earner’s pay drops 6%

Revenue and profit at Gowling WLG’s UK LLP have fallen despite the overall firm, including its Canadian arm, increasing revenue by nearly 17% last year.

Gowling’s UK LLP accounts for the year to 30 April 2018 say revenue fell 5% to £179.9m. Profit, meanwhile, fell to £51.9m from £60m, a 14% drop.

The average profit share of members fell to £373,000 from £396,000, even as the average number of members fell to 142 from 154. Pay for the highest-earning member similarly fell to £859,000 from £910,000. Remuneration for key management was flat at £3.8m.

The drop occurred during the firm’s second full financial year since the 2016 tie-up between Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co and Canadian firm Gowlings. The Canadian arm does not formally publish financial results, but in July last year overall revenue was said to have increased to £455.5m from £390.1m. The combination is structured as a UK company limited by guarantee (CLG), with both profits and partnerships kept separate.

In an interview with Legal Business earlier this year, Gowling chief executive David Fennell (pictured) said the UK business would be down largely because of the departure of its private client business. The legacy Lawrence Graham team left for Forsters last March, in what was described as ‘the right move’ for both the team and the firm.

Gowling noted in its accounts that Brexit has increased uncertainty for the firm but that it believes it is well equipped to deal with the risks and opportunities this presents: ‘In the longer term, the group’s strong market position and diversity of the markets in which it operates will mitigate some of the uncertainty.’

Gowling has a long-talked about ambition to expand through further mergers, with offices in nine countries. Germany is the main priority for the firm, while Southeast Asia, most likely Singapore, is also an area of interest. On Monday (7 January), the firm extended its ‘best friend’ relationship with Indian law firm Naik Naik & Company.