FFW reports half-year revenue uptick of 7 per cent

Field Fisher Waterhouse’s (FFW) half year global revenue has come in ahead of budget, ringing in at £49.9m.

The figure is an increase of 7 per cent on its turnover of £46.8m at the same stage last year.  

The firm’s managing partner Michael Chissick said that the final figure was just £137,000 short of the £50m mark, and noted that: “We don’t want to count our chickens until they come home to roost, but partners are feeling confident and I’m pleased with our direction.”

He added that traditionally the firm’s second six months are at least the same or slightly better than the first.

Chissick put the promising results down to high-billing periods for the firm’s corporate, dispute resolution, and financial services and funds groups. Meanwhile, the real estate practice was cited as an example of a practice area that had a slower start to the 2013/14 financial year.

“We’ve had good numbers as by and large all parts of the firm are performing well. Some practices are hoping to catch up in the second half, but we’re currently ahead of budget,” Chissick added.

The firm’s City office produced the best results in five years, while its Paris and Brussels offices also recorded strong figures for the year so far.

The figures were announced at FFW’s annual partner conference which took place in the French city of Lille last weekend. It was the first time the event has been held outside of the UK in demonstration of the firm’s expanding European reach.

It was also Chissick’s first partner conference and half-year as the firm’s official managing partner, having graduated from the acting managing partner role in February 2013 (4 February 2013).

“It was a ‘turn the corner’ conference,” said Chissick. “Partners came through an international recession and we just had a few things overhanging including a franchising team leaving. But we have a unified sense of leadership and the conference was a chance for us to spend time together.”

Three of the firm’s franchising partners, including practice group head Mark Abell, left the firm in early 2013 to join Bird & Bird (8 May 2013).

FWF is due to downsize to a new single-site riverside base in the summer of 2014, which is thought will provide substantial savings on its rent and rates spend.

In the last full financial year, FFW saw a 2.5 per cent drop in turnover, with revenues falling from £97.5m in 2011/12 to £95m in 2012/13. Net profit inched up from £18m to £18.3m, while profit per equity partner dropped by two percentage points from £410,000 to £402,000 to hit its lowest point since 2006/07 (1 July 2013).