BLM has seen its profitability return to growth with average profit per equity partner (PEP) rising 11 per cent from £224,000 to £249,000 in 2013/14.
The results follow a disappointing 2012/3, when PEP fell by almost 10 per cent and net profit was down by 8 per cent, from £15.1m to £13.9m. Last year BLM generated £15.7m in net profit, a 12.9 per cent increase on the previous year.
Turnover was up 4 per cent last year, from £84.7m to £89m. The firm has been growing revenue year on year by around 4 per cent with an increase of 13 per cent, from £78.8m to £89m, over the past five years.
BLM has been struggling to maintain profitability while being squeezed by the continued downward pressure on fees in the insurance market, although the overall trend in PEP has been upwards. PEP has risen by 12.2 per cent in the period from £222,000 in 2009/10.
Revenue per lawyer at BLM now stands at £214,457 compared to the previous year’s £207,598. The firm now has 63 full-equity partners, 43 per cent of the total partnership.
Total headcount fell sharply in the previous financial year, from 1,267 to 1,202 in 2012/13 and there were 23 fewer qualified lawyers by the year-end. Last year it built its numbers back, adding seven new qualified lawyers to its ranks.
The acquisition was announced in March and will give BLM its first presence in Scotland with the addition of HBM’s offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh. HBM’s small London office will also become part of BLM (17 March 2014).
It is the first merger at BLM since legacy firms Berrymans and Lace Mawer combined in 1997 (18 February 1997), although the firm did acquire a partner and seven staff from Morgan Cole in December (15 November 2013).