Bond Pearce sees profit slump after panel losses

Bond Pearce sees profit slump after panel losses” />
Bristol-based Bond Pearce has recorded a sharp dip in profitability, with average profit per equity partner (PEP) tumbling by 17 per cent.

Equity partners at the firm will take home an average of £30,000 less each this year following a slide in PEP to £150,000 from last year’s £180,000. This is due to the loss of two major personal injury (PI) contracts, which caused the redundancies of 12 lawyers and as many support staff.

As reported exclusively by The Lawyer (26 March), the firm decided to restructure the PI practice after its failure to be reappointed to the Royal Mail’s new national PI panel following a review concluded in March, and the firm’s decision to end its PI work for the Transport and General Workers’ Union to avoid client conflicts.

Managing partner Victor Tettmar said: “We’ve had to reshape litigation and in particular personal injury, and that’s hit our profit considerably. We’ve also increased our rent by £1m at our new premises at Temple Quay, meaning profitability isn’t as we originally planned.”

Tettmar said PEP for 2006-07 would have hit £200,000 without those two factors.

The equity spread at the firm ranges from £120,000 to £210,000; however, this year marks the last year of the firm’s lockstep profit distribution. Tettmar predicted that the firm’s new system, introduced this financial year and set to affect the 2007-08 numbers, will broaden the equity spread from £130,000 to £270,000.

The new system will combine a shorter lockstep with part of the compensation package, which is based on performance. The firm will also introduce ‘super plateau’ positions.