Mid-market results buoyed by insurance and litigation

A rebound in the insurance and litigation markets helped Davies Arnold Cooper (DAC), Nabarro and Weightmans cushion against a second-half market downturn.

Preliminary results from Nabarro indicate that unadjusted turnover is up by 16 per cent to £140m.

Senior partner Simon Johnston said litigation grew by around 10 per cent. New instructions for Northern Rock investor RAB Capital, the Cardiff Football Club win and ongoing work for BERR on the coalminers litigation all contributed.

But Johnston admitted that, while turnover in corporate and real estate was slightly up on last year’s, it was “not too significant”, with both practice areas experiencing a drop-off.

This picture was also borne out at national firm Weightmans, where turnover rose by 14 per cent to £50m thanks to insurance (in particular large loss personal injury) and despite a last quarter slowdown in corporate and property.

DAC recorded a 17 per cent increase to £37.3m, mainly through its January merger with litigation specialist KSB Law.

Meanwhile, Bond Pearce reported a 12 per cent rise in turnover to £47m driven by new client wins in the energy sector. As revealed on The Lawyer.com (9 May), Ashurst broke through the £300m barrier, with turnover rising by 17 per cent to £323m. Simmons & Simmons’ turnover rose by 16 per cent, from £250m to £290m, thanks to a good year for litigation and finance.

Only Cobbetts and Halliwells have had harder years. At Cobbetts, turnover inched up from £58m to £59m and at Halliwells it went up from £86m to £87m.

For more on the financial results at all the top firms as they come in, see our Top of the PEPs 2008 blog here