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Liverpool-based EAD Solicitors is, according to managing partner Garry Abrams, in a “holding position”. Over the past three years the firm’s turnover has grown, but only slightly.
Indeed, during the most recent financial year certain parts of EAD’s practice, such as domestic conveyancing, saw their revenues tumble.
Luckily for EAD, these areas constitute a minority of the firm’s total revenue, some 15 per cent. By far the greater part of total turnover is derived from the firm’s core client base of trade unions.
“Our core market has held up quite well - it hasn’t really been affected by the recession,” says Abrams.
The firm’s core market - litigation for trade union members - covers a wide range of claims, including employers’ liability, stress and accidents at work, as well as wills and probate. EAD also has an expanding clinical negligence practice group.
But while these areas have held up reasonably well, Abrams admits the firm has been forced to take action to maintain profitability in the face of falling revenue from the parts of its practice that have been affected by the downturn.
“If a practice group with revenue of £1m dropsby £800,000 to £200,000, that’s a direct hit on the bottom line,” he says. “You have to take action immediately.”
For EAD that action has included a number of redundancies, the closure of some smaller offices and a general drive to be more cost effective across the practice.
“We’re also being far more rigorous about our risk management procedures,” says Abrams, adding that this results in a higher proportion of cases accepted that the firm is likely to win. In the meantime EAD is gearing up to face another challenge, that of the Legal Services Act.
“I can foresee larger organisations getting into the bottom end of the market in certain areas, such as domestic conveyancing,” says Abrams. “We’ve already started moving the majority of our practice in this area away from ‘Mr and Mrs Smith’ and towards professional buyers.”
Managing partner: Garry Abrams Turnover: £9m Number of partners: 21 Number of equity partners: 10 Number of lawyers: 42 Number of fee-earners: 14 Number of offices: Three Locations: Liverpool, Old Swan, Wavertree Main practice areas: Clinical negligence, conveyancing, commercial litigation, employers’ liability litigation, employment, industrial disease, personal injury Key clients: Private individuals, companies and trade unions, including the GMB and Unite