Osborne Clarke partners rejoice after war on costs wipes out £9m debt

Osborne Clarke has wiped out almost £9m in debt after two years of tight financial management.

The Bristol-based firm was £8.8m in debt at the end of the 2002-03 financial year following a period of aggressive expansion and heavy investment in staff.

However, a cost-cutting and financial management initiative headed by managing partner Simon Beswick has seen the firm accrue savings of more than £8m. It closed the 2002-03 financial year with £2.3m in savings and is currently £8.25m cash positive.

Beswick attributed the results to improved revenues, radical cuts to the firm’s cost base (including a wave of staff and lawyer redundancies), property savings, technology investment and better working capital management. “It’s a ‘looking after the pennies’ culture,” said Beswick.

The bulk of the savings will be ploughed into partner drawings and tax obligations, with the balance being held to fund investment and repay long-term loans taken out to fund the firm’s move to its new Bristol headquarters.