CMS Cameron McKenna is in danger of being defined by structural challenges.
Turnover (£m): 225
Average PEP: 500
Equity spread (£k): 270-571
Profit margin (%): 21
RPL (£k): 314
Vision – Execution – Governance –
Not only has it become an outsourcing trailblazer thanks to its controversial back-office deal with Integreon – potentially a pilot for the entire network – the London firm is also keen to project its entire European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG) as being a single, joined-up firm, similar to several of its Swiss Verein rivals.
This year at least, however, The Lawyer remains concerned solely with the UK-headquartered end of the business. That showed a 5 per cent rise in total revenue to £225m with a 10 per cent rise in average profit per equity partner to £500,000.
Revenue per lawyer also rose, from £291,000 to £314,000, a sign that Camerons’ efficiency drive is paying off. On the flip side, the lockup at the year-end exceeded significantly its target of 110 days. Average work-in-progress was a manageable 36 days, but average debtors were 139 days.
Camerons has become more aggressive in respect of criteria for making partner, ejecting 15 of the 20 partners who were part of a consultation process in 2011. This was the culmination of a three-year overhaul that began in 2008, managing partner Duncan Weston’s first year as managing partner. This involved a comprehensive review of the business followed by a redundancy programme in 2009 and a six-month flex programme that saved 15 per cent of overhead costs. Around that time 6 per cent of the workforce was made redundant. The introduction of a competency-based career path for associates with three bands – lawyer, associate and senior associate – was followed by this year’s partnership review.
The firm ticked the box ‘neutral’ regarding external investment on The Lawyer’s questionnaire, but senior partner Dick Tyler and Weston confirmed that as long ago as 2008 the firm reviewed its governance structure in the context of the Legal Services Act.