Converging on boom-time profits without a boom – the big four now and then

Converging on boom-time profits without a boom – the big four now and then

They say averages lie, though in my experience not as much as people, but producing an annual report with 2,000 data points as we do with this month’s LB100 means it can be hard even for professional anoraks such as myself to find the nuggets of meaning in the thickets of information.

Well, when in doubt I start with the market leaders, so I dug up the numbers on London’s big four in their peak of 2008 to compare against this year’s results to see how they have changed. Continue reading “Converging on boom-time profits without a boom – the big four now and then”

LB100 2014: Statistically speaking, you may not need a bigger boat

LB100 2014: Statistically speaking, you may not need a bigger boat

Last year delivering our annual results issue Legal Business remarked that the age of turbulence facing law firms since the 2008 banking crisis was far from over. And so it has proved. Despite all the talk of returning confidence, and clear evidence of recovery in the UK economy, it’s still choppy out there. Stripping out another year of consolidation, the numbers are a little better than 2013 but that’s about it. Mergers have driven the market to nearly £21bn in revenues but average partner profit of £640,000 across the top 100 is still a way off the all-time peak of £703,000 recorded in 2008. The world’s second largest legal market is tracking inflation.

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LB100 2014: Behind the Numbers – Profitability Revealed

LB100 2014: Behind the Numbers – Profitability Revealed

Which firms are the most profitable?

In this table we blend together all of our profitability measures, including PEP, profit per lawyer and profit margin to discover which of the top 100 firms are the most profitable. The 100 firms have been ranked according to their mean rank across all three measurements. Continue reading “LB100 2014: Behind the Numbers – Profitability Revealed”

LB100: Shipping and Insurance – Peaks and Troughs

LB100: Shipping and Insurance – Peaks and Troughs

If the post-Lehman years have in general been good to the City’s insurance and shipping specialists, 2013/14 has been a year of starkly diverging fortunes amid the familiar backdrop of margin pressure on the volume end of the market.

As such, this loose grouping of law firms has seen some of the strongest performances in the LB100 in 2014, while others have weathered falling revenues and job cuts.

This is most strikingly demonstrated in the two most prominent brands in the City insurance market, Clyde & Co and Ince & Co. While the former has largely sustained its robust growth of recent years, with an 8% increase in global revenues to £365.1m and with profits increasing 10% to £92.8m, Ince has seen a 7% fall in income to £86.7m.

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Reviving deal market lifts LB100 as top UK firms edge up profits and fees

Reviving deal market lifts LB100 as top UK firms edge up profits and fees

While the headline Legal Business 100 (LB100) results are once again inflated by significant merger activity at every level, there is evidence that many of the top 100 grossing firms in the UK are enjoying organic growth again.

Total revenue for the LB100 for 2013/14 is £20.82bn, an increase of 9%, while lawyer headcount swelled 6% to 65,111. With revenue growth slightly faster than 2012/13 but headcount growth slower, average revenue per lawyer (RPL), profit per lawyer (PPL) and profit per equity partner (PEP) were all up by 3% to £320,000, £98,000 and £640,000 respectively.

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LB100 2014: Methodology and Notes

LB100 LAW FIRMS

The firms that appear in the LB100 are the top 100 firms in the UK, ranked by gross fee income generated over the financial year 2013/14 – usually 1 May 2013 to 30 April 2014. We call these the 2014 results. Where firms have identical fee incomes, the firms are ranked according to the highest profit per equity partner (PEP).

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