Legal Business Blogs

SJ Berwin reveals turnover increase of 2% as partnership expansion hits PEP

SJ Berwin has become the latest leading UK law firm to release its 2012-13 financial results, with its unaudited accounts revealing an increase in revenue of 2% to £184.6m, exceeding last year’s growth figure of 1.1% to £180.1m.

Profit figures have yet to finalised but early indications suggest that net profit has risen slightly at the top 25 UK firm, although profits per equity (PEP) partner have contracted by up to 10% in light of expansion to the partnership over the past year, falling from £635,000 to around £570,000.

The firm’s management have played down the drop in PEP and Rob Day, managing partner of SJ Berwin, told Legal Business: ‘Few firms are expanding equity, we’re not fixated on building PEP.’

2012-13 has seen significant investment by the 600-lawyer firm, which hired13 partners across practices including EU, competition and regulatory, litigation, corporate and finance and promoted five lawyers into the partnership.

According to Day, SJ Berwin’s offices in Europe, the Middle East and China saw strong performances, with London, Germany and Brussels particularly singled out. ‘These strong results have been achieved alongside significant investment in our business including opening a new office in Luxemburg, which has already achieved a healthy net profit,’ said Day.

In terms of practice area, Day said there were no notable drops within any one department and private equity and funds had a particularly good year.

The year has also seen the firm act on a number of high profile corporate mandates, including for Universal Music on the sale of Parlophone Label Group to Warner Music Group for £487m in February this year.

‘We continue to prioritise our client needs as we invest in initiatives that benefit our clients and the top quality advice and support we provide to them,’ said Stephen Kon, senior partner of SJ Berwin.

These results come as SJ Berwin continues its merger talks with Asia Pacific firm King & Wood Mallesons.

Today (17 June) also saw Pinsent Masons reveal a 40% increase in turnover on the back of its merger with McGrigors in June last year.