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Mishcon de Reya has seen net profit slide by 17.9 per cent at the 2008-09 financial year-end, with the firm’s property practice hit the hardest.
Net profit fell to £12.65m from £15.4m a year earlier, while turnover was up marginally, from £47.1m to £47.3m.
Average profit per equity partner (PEP) for the year stood at £575,000, which was 22 per cent below the £740,000 reported for 2007-08 and 17.6 per cent below the 2006-07 figure of £698,000.
The firm’s equity spread also narrowed, with the top earners taking home £950,000 and those on the bottom rung receiving £275,000. This was down on the previous year, when the equity spread ran from £350,000 to £1.2m.
While the litigation practice experienced a surge in instructions, contributing 49 per cent of Mishcon’s turnover, property accounted for just 19 per cent.
According to managing partner Kevin Gold, the commercial property practice has been hit hard by uncompleted deals as a result of clients being cautious in light of the economic downturn.
Last year Gold said that investment was a priority for the 2008-09 financial year, with a particular emphasis on the litigation practice (The Lawyer, 28 July 2008). The partnership deliberately prevented PEP levels from rising above £710,000 as it looked for new premises from which to grow.
As a result of the downturn the plan to move offices was put on hold while the firm reorganised key practices, including the creation of a professional negligence team in the litigation practice.