Newcastle firm Ward Hadaway continued its post-recession recovery with a total revenue of £28.4m last year, up from 27.6m in 2009-10. But profitability remained an issue, with net profit slipping slightly, from £3.4m to £3.2m. Average profit per equity partner stagnated at £295,000, almost identical to the previous year’s £294,000 despite the firm having two fewer equity partners, and still significantly lower than its 2007-08 high of £408,000.
The equity spread ranged from £195,000 to £300,000.
The firm’s litigation practice remained its staple work stream, contributing 49 per cent of total revenue, while property work represented 27 per cent and corporate represented 19 per cent.
Ward Hadaway is one of several North East firms whose reliance on the public sector has made for an uncertain couple of years, with key clients including the NHS Litigation Authority and North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust.
But the firm continued to boost its partnership with six promotions in April and key lateral hires, including those of Cobbetts’ regulatory chief Kirsty Gomersal and commercial partner Mark Whitehead from arch rival Watson Burton.
Financial management remains a challenge, as lockup blew out to an average of 184 days last year compared with its ambitious target of 120 days.