Top 50 national firm Weightmans has today (6 July) posted a flat turnover of £95m, while profit is up 21% to £11m in what was a year ‘of great change and growth for the business.’
Over the last year Weightmans has ‘continued to invest in its systems and people, whilst operating within a persistently challenging legal services environment,’ according to a statement. Additionally, in this time the firm has undertaken a strategic review and outlined a new five-year strategy.
Growth over the last financial year was highlighted across litigation, corporate, real estate, regulatory, disease, speciality insurance, healthcare and local government/police.
Profit per equity partner (PEP) increased 28% to £295,000 in a strong turnaround for the firm after PEP fell dramatically last year by 19% to £231,000.
Weightmans managing partner John Schorah said the result was good in a year which was ‘both challenging and rewarding.’
‘As is expected from the changing legal environment, we continue to see some reduction in revenue from a proportion of our volume defendant claims areas. At the same time however we are seeing some fantastic growth in a number of areas including in Claims as we continue to develop the business to suit these changing client requirements.’
Weightmans opened a new office in London this year. This followed the firm’s combination with local Leeds firm Ford & Warren in 2015, to create a firm with revenues of around £100m and headcount of over 1,400. The merger provided Weightmans with a new Leeds base, giving the firm a presence in nine UK locations, with two offices apiece in London and Manchester.
This January, Legal Business revealed that Weightmans was in merger talks with Newcastle-based Ward Hadaway to create a £130.8m national firm. However, the talks were called off in April after ‘both firms reached a consensus their respective strategic priorities were not sufficiently aligned to invest in such a significant merger.’
Had those talks been successful, the merger would have created a national firm with offices in Newcastle, Birmingham, Dartford, Glasgow, Knutsford, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London and Manchester. Both firms have a Leeds and Manchester presence, but any merger would have provided Weightmans with a strong foothold in the North East.
Management at Weightmans, whose practice centres on defendant personal injury claims as well as general litigation transaction and advisory work, said it aimed to consolidate its regional bases into cost-efficient single offices, consolidating the London office this year, and the Manchester office in 2018.