Stephenson Harwood’s profit per equity partner (PEP) bounced back from two consecutive years of decline, rising 9% to reach £727,000 as the firm’s top line grew 12% to hit the £213m mark.
The results will come as a welcome improvement on last year’s performance, which saw steady revenue growth of 6% to £189m offset by a disappointing 6% drop in PEP to £664,000.
Sharon White (pictured), chief executive of Stephenson Harwood, told Legal Business: ‘Though PEP dipped for two years, even with that decline it compared favourably with our peer firms. It’s great to see it going up, and that’s because we’ve had a strong year of revenue growth and have come out significantly ahead of budget.’
The results are better still than the firm’s polarized 2017 performance, when revenue grew 11% but PEP tumbled 9%. They also mean Stephenson Harwood has more than doubled its revenue over a ten-year period, while partner headcount has risen from 90 to over 180 since 2008.
The firm, which is looking to see partner headcount hit 200 by 2021, enjoyed its largest partner promotion round in April, with 13 lawyers minted globally, of which eight were in the City. It also made 11 lateral hires over the last financial year.
Despite the robust year, White strikes a cautious note looking forward: ‘There are still concerns around the impact of Brexit but also trade wars between the US and China. We’re more cautious about the year ahead.’
White is set to be replaced on 1 October as chief executive of Stephenson Harwood by the firm’s co-head of intellectual property Eifion Morris. She has been CEO since 2009, leading the firm for over a decade after having her term extended by another two years in March 2017.