Irwin Mitchell LLP’s show profits fell 59% as a result of ‘fast-tracked’ Thomas Eggar integration

Irwin Mitchell‘s first LLP accounts since the acquisition of Thomas Eggar in December last year show the firm’s profit on ordinary activities has dropped by 59% to £8.4m from £20.6m.

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Rise of the accountants: PwC’s legal arm posts 24% revenue jump to £59.9m

Revenue at PwC Legal has soared this financial year, from £48.5m to £59.9m, an increase of 25%. Led by senior partner Shirley Brookes, the legal arm of the accounting giant has also posted net income of £11m. Of the total revenue, £56m of that is UK fee income.

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Comment: LB100 firms forced to make own luck as tough times continue

The headline isn’t great, but it’s not bad either. Judging our annual Legal Business 100 (LB100) results, the industry has done better than expected overall, at least compared to 2015, when the group barely achieved growth despite a relative rebound in the UK and global economy.

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Case study: Berwin Leighton Paisner

Had merger talks earlier this year with Miami-based Global 100 firm, Greenberg Traurig, been successful, Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) would now be part of a £1.1bn firm and a £5m fall in revenue would look like a drop in the ocean. As it is, BLP’s strategy is under scrutiny again with its recent revival looking short-lived.

Revenue fell 2% at BLP in 2015/16 to £254m, while profit per equity partner (PEP) was more positive with 4% growth to £687,000. This is in sharp contrast to the rapid growth of the previous financial year, when revenue rose 5% to hit a record £259m and PEP surged 22% to £661,000. Continue reading “Case study: Berwin Leighton Paisner”

Case study: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

By some margin the strongest-performing Magic Circle firm for the 2015/16 year, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer posted 7% revenue growth from £1.245bn to £1.327bn and an 8% profit per equity partner (PEP) hike to £1.47m from £1.37m.

This performance is particularly impressive after a year of investment. The firm pushed hard on the development of its legal services hub in 2015, gaining the lease to its Manchester office in July last year. Rapidly scaled up, Freshfields’ Manchester staff will move into new premises double the size of the current office from early 2017, accommodating legal services staff as well as human resources, IT, marketing and business development, office management, document specialists and change management. Plans are already underway to open a second legal services hub in either the US or Canada to offer a 24-hour service to clients. Continue reading “Case study: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer”

Case study: Bond Dickinson

National player Bond Dickinson had a disappointing year financially, with turnover down 3% to £104m, while profit per equity partner (PEP) has also dropped 3% to £275,000, a stark contrast to the firm’s performance in last year’s Legal Business 100, where PEP soared 26% to £284,000 and turnover climbed 8% to £107m. Blaming the results on a harder mid-market and significant IT investment, managing partner Jonathan Blair says that despite the tougher conditions, real estate, private client and transport all performed particularly well.

‘Real estate was strong for us – on the operational property side, on the investor side, on the house building side,’ he says. ‘Private wealth has always been an area for us that has been very reliable. It seems to be able to withstand the vagaries you get in litigation, which tends to be counter cyclical, or M&A activity or any transactional activity. Private wealth is always pretty strong – we have grown that and worked hard on it.’

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