Bird & Bird blames global expansion for profit drop

Technology, media and telecoms (TMT) firm Bird & Bird has seen a 9 per cent dip in profits in the last financial year

Gross fees went up 10 per cent from £48.6m to £53.3m. But average profits per partner dropped from £398,000 to £360,000.
Bird & Bird is not the only TMT law firm to suffer from the burst of the technology equity bubble. Last month, Osborne Clarke released figures showing its profits had dipped by 20 per cent.
Bird & Bird's profits per partner figure is itself questionable, as the firm has given average profits based on the earnings of its senior equity partners, known as 'capital partners'. Bird & Bird has no lockstep and all partners are equity partners. Partners at the top of the senior equity group last year earned £544,000, compared with £580,000 in 2000/2001. Capital partners at the bottom of the group earned £211,000 last year, compared with £230,000 the year before.
Chief executive David Kerr blamed the drop in profits partly on the firm's investment in its international network. He said that partners should soon see profits go up as the investment started to be realised. “We've been conservative and our profits have been diluted by international expansion. Now all of our international offices are profitable apart from The Hague,” he said.
Bird & Bird opened in The Hague in November last year. The firm is also in discussions with partners from the German arm of Andersen Legal to secure a tie-up.