Europe’s largest independent law firm, France’s Fidal, has reported a slight dip in revenue for the 2014/15 financial year, with turnover down 0.4 per cent to €346.1m (£271m).
The results follows an 8 per cent rise up to €347.5m between 2012 and 2014. That uptick saw Fidal overtake Iberian firm Garrigues to become the highest-grossing independent firm on the Continent last year.
A spokesperson for the firm said it was satisfied with the performance, “which we achieved in a difficult economic context and in an ever-more competitive market”.
Fidal’s reported net profit rose 19 per cent to €4.7m last year and is now more than double the 2012/13 net profit of €2.4m.
The firm’s headcount rose slightly, from a total of 2,213 staff in 2013/14 to 2,225 last year. Of those, 1,368 were fee-earners including 1,205 lawyers.
Fidal’s financial year-end is 30 September.
During the last financial year the firm accelerated a strategy of diversification with a focus on multi-disciplinary activities. Adding to its tax expertise, the firm set up a fiduciary business aimed at serving trusts clients, Fidal Fiducie. The subsidiary handles matters originating both from Fidal’s lawyers but also other legal, investment advisory and asset management firms.
Meanwhile Fidal acquired a stake in corporate finance consultancy Adviso Partners with the aim of gaining better visibility among corporate and M&A law firms. It also invested in alternative financing crowdfunding platform CapitAll.
“Through this diversification, we want to reinforce our status as a pioneer of offerings that are complementary to our legal and tax advisory and litigation services,” said the firm.
Although Fidal is aiming to diversify, its tax offering remains the core driver of revenue. Fidal said its tax law department contributed 40 per cent of turnover in 2014/15, up from 36.7 per cent the previous year, with the increase mainly due to work related to regulating overseas accounts for clients.
While much of Fidal’s work is related to France the firm has been seeking to build its international presence for several years. Last year it added alliance agreements with Côte d’Ivoire firm Bilé-Aka Brizoua-Bi & Associés and Société Fiduciaire du Maroc in Morocco.
A total of 328 lawyers, split between Paris and the regions, are focused on international work.