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LLP latest: Shoosmiths, Morgan Cole and MMS see significant drop in highest paid partner as Charles Russell’s takes home 64% more

The latest round of LLP accounts for 2012/13 has revealed that Shoosmiths paid £1.5m to acquire Scottish firm Archibald Campbell & Harley, while Morgan Cole’s highest paid partner took home £116,000 less, Maclay Murray & Spens reduced their borrowing despite a tough year and Charles Russell’s highest paid equity partner took home £234,000 more.

On merging with Archibald Campbell in October 2012, Shoosmiths acquired £1.77m of net assets, £1.47m of which was paid as a cash consideration, the UK top 45 firm’s first-ever LLP accounts show. The remaining £300,000 was collected by the end of the financial year.

The 418-lawyer firm, which incorporated as an LLP on 4 May 2012, with the business of its general partnership transferring to the LLP on 6 August 2012, saw its bank loans increase by 18% from £6.5m in 2011/12 to £7.7m last year, while other loans also increased from £1.7m to £2.6m.

Shoosmiths’ highest paid partner saw their earnings drop 25% from £375,000 in 2011/12 to £281,000 last year, as audited accounts also showed a drop in net profit of 12% during that period from £12.5m to £11m, although turnover increased 3.4% from £84m to £86.9m.

Elsewhere, at UK top 80 firm Morgan Cole the highest paid member of the equity took home almost 42% less at the end of the last financial year – £162,000 compared to £278,000 in 2011/12. The lowest paid equity partner also took home 35% less; £135,000 compared to £206,000 the year before.

This came as revenue dipped 8% from £36.6m to £33.7m, as profit dropped over 32% from £10.1m to £6.9m, which the Cardiff-based firm attributed to a one-off property charge which has now been resolved.

Meanwhile, Maclays has significantly reduced its borrowing despite seeing revenue and profits drop, with turnover down 12.6% to £40.8m last year compared to £46.7m at the end of 2011/12. Net profit was down 21.8% from £13.3m to £10.4m as the firm also reduced its headcount by 22 fee-earners and staff, as staff costs were cut 7.2% from £18m to £16.7m.

The Scottish market has been notoriously difficult but Maclays, which has seen its revenue drop by over 30% from its 2008 high of £61.1m, has nonetheless shaved its bank loan from just below £2m to around £1.3m in the last financial year.

The highest-earning partner took home £292,000, a 26% cut on £397,000 the year before.

The picture could not be more different at top 50 UK firm Charles Russell which, despite seeing turnover and profit increase only slightly, saw its highest paid partner take home £600,000, up from £366,000 in 2011/12, a 64% increase.

The 310-lawyer firm 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.