The addition of nine-partner Chelmsford firm Wollastons in September 2010 propelled Ipswich practice Birketts into The Lawyer’s top 100 for the first time.
The nine months of combined revenues helped generate a turnover of £23.8m for 2010-11. Further growth of around 10 per cent is expected in the current financial year.
Profitability was better than budgeted for, with a margin of 21.8 per cent, representing a net profit of £5.2m. The merger was paid for through an increase in Birketts’ working capital bank loan and accordingly average profit per equity partner rose by around 20 per cent to £182,000.
Birketts was also able to make fewer people redundant than originally envisaged, which helped keep costs low.
The firm put more emphasis on performance with its partner remuneration last year, shifting from a pure lockstep system to a modified lockstep. The firm’s 20 fixed-share partners shared out £1.8m.
Birketts beat its 125-day lockup target by three days, partly by paying greater attention to billing and an investment in credit control systems.
Future expansion, particularly in private client and property work and in the Norwich office, are likely as Birketts seeks to become the pre-eminent East Anglian player.