UK top 200 ranking: 100
For volume firm Optima the recession has brought about a five-year decline in total revenue caused by the collapse of the conveyancing market.
Optima was established in 2006 after DLA Piper spun off its volume arm. Since then Optima has suffered a recession as well as a tussle with the regulator over its business relationship with outsourcing giant Capita, both of which have hit its revenues.
By the end of the financial year turnover had dropped to £22.8m from £23.1m a year earlier, its lowest point since the firm first entered The Lawyer’s UK 200 in 2008–09 with turnover of £30m.
Optima is structured along corporate lines and deliberately keeps its management small. The firm has a six-member management board, but its equivalent equity partnership is just three strong, down from four a year earlier. This has had a knock-on effect on the average profit per equity partner figure, which has risen by 14.4 per cent from £139,000 to £159,000, though this is still below the £307,000 posted by the firm in 2008–09.
Optima’s conveyancing and remortgaging group was hit hard by the recession with its banking client base pulling away from the residential property market. The group, which is led by partner Anthony Ruane, generated £9.69m (or 42 per cent) of total turnover. The remainder came from the firm’s dispute resolution group, led by partner Phillip Robinson, which generated £13.25m.
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear
Turnover (£m): 22.88
Total lawyers: 49