Manchester-based litigation outfit DWF continued to steam ahead despite the tumultuous economic climate, posting a sharp rise in turnover, from £71.5m to £83m. The profit margin also increased, from 12 to 14 per cent.
While the transactional market remains tough, managing partner Andrew Leaitherland said he is confident that the firm is getting its market share, pointing to a 35 per cent increase in corporate work during the year. Litigation continues to be DWF’s staple diet, however, with 70 per cent of revenue coming from the 96-partner practice.
DWF’s strategic board includes Leaitherland, chairman Alan Benzie and a team of practice group heads who run the business operationally and report back to the board once a month. HR director Catherine Williams also sits on the board. Major decisions are generally taken democratically, with the strategic board making representations to equity partners, who then vote.
DWF operates a merit-based remuneration system in which partners undergo annual performance reviews and are awarded points based on their contributions to the business. Profit is distributed three times a year.
Leaitherland admitted that the firm is trying to reduce its lockup and that it does not bill clients quickly enough, but added that its debtor days are below the average of many of its peers’.
In the current financial year DWF is launching a full-service practice out of its Newcastle office and opening an office in Birmingham.