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Speechly posts flat financials but forecasts PEP boost next year

Speechly Bircham has posted flat financials for the 2012/13 year following failed merger talks with Withers and a spate of partner exits.

The City-headquartered firm saw a slight drop in revenue to £57.5m from £57.6m in 2011/12, while profits per equity partner decreased from £299,000 to £293,000.

The firm has seen double digit partner exits since the last financial year, when the combined equity and non-equity partners figure stood at 91. As a result however, the firm is estimating a 25% growth in PEP next year.

Those to exit have included private client partners Sanjvee Shah who left for Taylor Wessing in May and Charles Gothard who went to Macfarlanes in November last year.

The results come in the wake of collapsed merger talks with international private client firm Withers – a tie-up which would have created a 600-lawyer practice with combined revenue of £170m.

However, managing partner James Carter injected a note of optimism into the figures, commenting: ‘Our steady financial performance through 2012-2013, despite the challenging market, provides a solid base from which to achieve growth. We have been working hard to strengthen and globalise our sector strategy and this will be furthered bolstered by the opening of our two new European offices later this year. 2013/14 promises to be a year of further development for the firm.’

Speechly is the latest in a series of UK firms to post financials for the 2012/13 year. Fellow private client firm Forsters announced a revenue boost of 16% in mid-May, with total fee income at the 120-lawyer Mayfair practice growing to £32.5m up from £28m last year, while profits increased 11%.