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This year, The Lawyer’s annual ranking of the largest UK law firms by turnover is available as an interactive, digital benchmarking tool. For the first time this will allow you to manipulate each data set against the metrics of your choice.
Although 2005-06 was a bumper year for most of the top 50, there were some firms that did not enjoy outstanding financial success.
Many of these had insurance and EC3 practices rather than premium-billing M&A businesses and are traditionally less able to capitalise on the corporate bull market.
Among the firms that did less well in 2005-06 was Reynolds Porter Chamberlain (RPC), the only firm in the top 50 to post a drop in profit.
In 2005 profit per equity partner (PEP) stood at £295,000, but last year that figure fell by 3 per cent to £286,000. However, it should be noted that RPC is one of the few all-equity partnerships in the top 50.
Clyde & Co, which added £13m to turnover, was one of three firms to post a static profit. Its 2005 acquisition of aviation boutique Beaumont & Sons, which had an average PEP of £280,000, plus continued overseas expansion accounted for the disappointing result.
Litigation specialists Barlow Lyde & Gilbert - an all-equity partnership - and struggling regional firm Cobbetts also saw no growth in PEP last year. (For more on Cobbetts, see Analysis page 21.)
Cobbetts' PEP of £190,000 was the lowest in the top 50, trailing the second-lowest, Beachcroft's, by some margin.
The poorest performers in turnover terms were Denton Wilde Sapte (down 4 per cent), Barlows (down 1 per cent), Richards Butler (up 1 per cent), Salans and Norton Rose (both up 3 per cent).
Those firms posting the biggest rises in PEP included a number that had recovered from disappointing performances in the previous couple of years. Hammonds increased PEP by 61 per cent, but only to £328,000. Stephenson Harwood, which has been quietly restructuring, had a PEP increase of 45 per cent to £407,000.