It was yet another year of growth at Bird & Bird, at least on the top line. Total turnover was up by 6.3 per cent, from £201.8m in 2009-10 to £214.6m.
Turnover (£m): 214.6
Average PEP: 467
Equity spread (£k):292-778
Profit margin (%): 18
RPL (£k): 276
Vision – Execution – Governance –
Average profit per equity partner (PEP), meanwhile, as calculated by The Lawyer’s methodology, which includes full-equity partners only, stalled at £467,000, a figure still below its 2008-09 level.
Chief executive David Kerr said the revenue growth, which was ahead of budget, had been reasonably consistent across all of the firm’s 23 offices in 16 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. More of the same is planned for the current financial year, with at least one more office launch to go with the openings of Abu Dhabi and Hamburg earlier this year. Kerr added that the increasingly corporate-style governance structure Bird & Bird has had in place since it began ramping up internationally several years ago was a key factor in its ability to keep growing.
However, Kerr, who as chairman and chief operating officer ultimately runs the firm, admitted that, as each jurisdiction grows, it occasionally becomes necessary to tweak the governance system, which is based on representatives from a three-pronged matrix of practice group, sector group and country.
Last year that meant the Central and Eastern European board was overhauled, while in the UK longstanding board member Dominic Cook stepped down. Bird & Bird’s 14-member global management board features a mix of executives appointed by Kerr and annually appointed non-executives. The firm’s management committee, which has delegated authority for certain decisions, meets more regularly.
The year was marked by several notable client wins, such as Barclays and Santander, and panel reappointments, all of which underlined Bird & Bird’s impressive sector focus. The firm has now identified around 100 key clients to target in tandem with its ramped-up international expansion.