Herbies’ international revenues offset City dip

Herbert Smith’s international offices continued to grow turnover share over the 2008-09 financial year, with London accounting for 70 per cent of total ­revenue compared with 77 per cent last year.

David Willis

David Willis

When the currency effect was taken into account the firm saw its turnover figure increase by 5 per cent, up from £421.8m last year to £444m in 2008-09. As the firm has changed its financial year these figures compare the 12 months from April 2007 to March 2008 with May 2008 to April 2009.

Before work in progress, which deflated the total revenue figure by £14m, was taken into account, the firm’s Asian practice ­generated a revenue of £67m, Europe, including Russia, attracted £58m and the Middle East accounted for £11m, while London’s turnover figure stood at £322m.

Managing partner David Willis said the effect of exchange rate movements over the year “flattered” the figures from international offices, adding that Paris, Moscow and the Middle East had all exceeded budget, while Hong Kong was significantly down.

While the firm’s average profit per equity partner (PEP) figure is still being ­calculated, Willis said it is expected to drop by between 12 and 22 per cent.

At the end of the 2007-08 financial year PEP stood at £1.04m, meaning that, in a worst-case scenario, this year’s figure will stand at £808,000, while a more optimistic estimate would be £912,000.

Willis said the cost of the redundancy programme, which saw 84 people leave the firm last month, was met in the 2008-09 ­financial year.

In terms of practice areas, corporate remains the ­greatest contributor to ­revenue at just over 40 per cent, followed by litigation.