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Manches has split into core and non-core areas for the first time after a difficult financial year
The firm, which jostles with Withers for the number one spot in the family law stakes, has identified property, construction and its combined corporate and technology practice as core areas. The firm's financial figures are slightly down on last year's. In the last financial year, Manches turned over £23m compared with £23.1m the previous year; average profits per equity partner went down from £200,000 to £175,000; revenue per partner went down slightly, from £888,000 to £885,000; and fees per fee-earner went down from £218,000 to £202,000. "We don't want to take anything away from our family practice, but if we are to move on from being a £23m law firm we need to build up the commercial areas," said Manches chief executive Alun Lamerton. Lamerton blamed the events of 11 September for the firm's lack of growth over the last year. "Corporate was badly hit after 11 September," he said. "The last three months of 2001 were as bad as I've known." Manches wants corporate, technology, property and construction to increase the firm's revenue and also to eventually turn over the bulk of the increased revenue. Currently, these areas constitute slightly under half of the business. Lamerton explained that, while the firm will invest more in these new core areas, the family department will be run as usual. "We can gain more critical mass in the commercial areas. Family law is a more restricted market," he said.