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Norton Rose’s average profit per equity partner figure (PEP) for 2009-10 has fallen by 6 per cent to £486,000, following a 17 per cent dip last year.
The fall in PEP at the firm comes despite a 1 per cent rise in gross profit. Chief executive Peter Martyr attributed the decline in partner profits to the fact that there is now 7 per cent more equity in circulation compared with a year ago.
The total number of equity partners at the firm increased from 172 at the end of last year to 190 this time round, representing a 10 per cent rise.
Martyr told The Lawyer: “We’ve tried to keep it level and not fluctuated too much through the recession. We’ve not de-equitised partners or put a block on new, young partners coming up through the system.”
During the last financial year, the firm introduced its Flex working scheme, which allowed staff to work four-day weeks.
Martyr added: “We always accepted that we’d have to take it on the chin through Flex, but we would do it again.
“What we haven’t done is cut the basic services. There’s a limit to how much you can cut before you start damaging the ability of the business to run effectively.”
Last month, the firm announced a headline turnover figure of £307m, 2 per cent down from £314m in 2008-09 (18 June 2010).