DJ Freeman reaps new record profits

DJ Freeman's average profits per partner have broken through the u300,000 barrier for the first time, doubling what they were earning just two years ago.

Profits per partner soared 43 per cent over the past 12 months, eclipsing last year's record rise of 30 per cent.

Two years ago each partner earned u158,000. Typical rises through the mid-1990s averaged about 10 per cent.

In 1997, the firm's turnover was u23.3m. This year it will rise to u27.7m.

Chief executive Jonathan Lewis says DJ Freeman's assistants are also seeing large increases in their earning, but he refuses to comment further.

He claims the firm's profitable years and salary hikes are linked to the group's change in strategy over the past seven years.

He maintains DJ Freeman is reaping the rewards of a change instigated in 1992 when it consolidated its departments into four key areas. These are property, insurance, media and communications, and litigation with a particular focus on in-house.

Lewis says it has taken a while for the departmental changes to affect business but claims the past two profitable years show its impact has finally come to fruition.

Lewis says: “We are now getting the benefit of our changed strategy.

“The departments are now very focused, and finally clients are recognising this. It is as if it has all started to come together at once.”

He claims this has differentiated DJ Freeman from other second-tier City firms, and it has worked to the firm's benefit.

He says: “We are no-longer trying to be just another general medium-sized firm.

“Our four departments are far more specialised than the people they are competing with and clients are willing to pay more for it.

“A particular benefit is our litigation department. It is very focused on in-house lawyers and this year we have seen very large corporates instructing us.”