Moore Blatch’s PEP drops by 61 per cent as firm focuses on investment

Average profit at Southampton-headquartered Moore Blatch fell sharply in 2013/14, from £344,000 in 2012/13 to £133,000.

The firm’s equity spread also saw significant reductions, with the bottom of equity falling from £234,000 to £92,000 and the top of the equity reducing from £346,000 to £145,000.

The 30-partner firm’s net profit stood at £1.4m, a profit margin of 13 per cent on its total revenues of £19m, which was also down from the £20.3m turnover it posted in 2012/13.

Moore Blatch managing partner David Thompson attributed the fall in turnover to the impact of the Jackson Reforms on his firm’s personal injury and clinical negligence work. The firm saw a £2m reduction in fee income in these areas last year, although this was slightly offset by revenue increases in Moore Blatch’s commercial and private client departments.

Thompson said the firm’s current focus was on investment projects, such as the renovation of its Grade II-listed Richmond office and a new project management system, rather than partner profits.

The firm’s lawyer numbers stayed largely static over the past year, with 145 fee-earners, of whom 84 are qualified lawyers. Of its 30 partners, 11 are equity partners.

Moore Blatch’s debt stood at £3.28m last year, up from £911,000 the previous year while its already high work-in-progress (WIP) increased this year, from 759 days to 978. Debtor days decreased from 95 to 83.

This increase in WIP was due to the bulk nature of clinical negligence work and the increase in professional negligence work, both of which take longer to bill. Partner profits were distributed at three months after the year-end.