UK Top 200 position: 25
Nabarro’s turnover in 2011–12 was up less than one per cent on the previous year, rising from £112.6m to £113.4m. Net profit was also essentially flat at £28.1m — in 2010–11 it was £28m. Average profit per equity partner (PEP) showed a bit more life, rising 4.4 per cent over the same period, from £318,000 to £332,000.
On the other hand, a more positive way to interpret the numbers is that Nabarro has put a halt to three consecutive years of declining revenue and done so in a tough market.
Senior partner Simon Johnston said that work in progress had increased in 2011–12, pointing to a healthier pipeline of deals, and that the firm’s Singapore office had begun to bear fruit. The Singapore office is focused on arbitration and litigation but also brought in a few corporate advisory mandates.
Property remained Nabarro’s biggest earner in 2011–12, accounting for 31 per cent of revenue. Its closest rival is corporate, which contributed 25 per cent of revenue.
Against the backdrop of the firm’s steady figures, Nabarro’s management has been staying on top of costs and pruning where it has to. When the firm first announced its year-end results in May 2012, Johnston said that he had been actively managing the partnership in a bid to boost PEP but added that the firm had also lost partners it wanted to keep. As a result, the number of equity partners fell from 87 to 73 between April 2010 and April 2011 and between April 2011 and April 2012.
In January 2012, Nabarro also welcomed Spanish firm Roca Junyent to its international alliance. Johnston says his firm remains committed to the alliance model, which grants access to markets such as South America that are beyond the office footprint of the five members and allows Nabarro to concentrate on its own growth.
News from Nabarro
News from The Lawyer
Briefings from Nabarro
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Analysis from The Lawyer
A few UK200 firms – such as DWF – have managed to grow in the downturn. A few, such as Berwin Leighton Paisner, have come back stronger than ever after a wobble. Nabarro fits into neither category.