Royds is one of the few firms left in the City with a private client practice.
Having represented wealthy individuals for more than 100 years, it has a diverse list of clients, ranging from landed gentry to media entrepreneurs.
Managing partner Stewart Wilkinson says: “We’re seen as a medium-sized commercial firm but with a significant private client business.”
The practice area makes up a considerable portion of firm revenue, despite employing just two of the firm’s 17 London-based partners. Nearly a fifth of Royds’ income came from the private client group last year and it enjoyed a busy start to 2008, with the Government’s introduction of a new tax regime.
Other key strengths for Royds include corporate commercial work and commercial litigation. Wilkinson counts the State Bank of India among his clients, having helped it fend off a multimillion-pound claim brought by creditors of fraudulent bank BCCI.
Royds also advises high street clothing chain Monsoon on its commercial property portfolio. The real estate group accounts for more than a quarter of firm income. Wilkinson is hoping for more growth here in 2008, despite the property downturn, by undercutting City rivals on fees.
“Our strategy is that we provide considerable value for money,” he says. “We’ve been picking up retail clients on the strength of our offering.”
Royds operates a traditional lockstep system for its partners, who receive a percentage of profit for the first three years in the partnership before becoming full equity partners. Revenue across the firm rose by a steady 6.4 per cent last year to £6.7m in 2007-08. Royds’ average profit per equity partner (PEP) rose by more than 13 per cent, from £160,000 to £182,000 – this despite investment in a new office near St Paul’s, which opened last year.
“It’s a big investment and we’ve had to absorb those costs,” admits Wilkinson.
“We’re looking to capitalise on that next year.”
Royds has targeted a 10 per cent increase in both turnover and PEP during the coming year.
Managing partner: Stewart Wilkinson
Turnover: £6.7m (2007-08)
Number of partners: 19
Number of lawyers: 32
Main practice areas: Private client, litigation, corporate, property
Main clients: State Bank of India, Bank of India, Christie Group, Monsoon, National Children’s Home, Rotary Watches
Number of offices: Two
Locations: London, Morden