Shakespeare Putsman’s PEP hits £200K a year on

Shakespeare Putsman's PEP hits £200K a year on Birmingham’s Shakespeare ;Putsman ;has smashed its average profit per equity partner (PEP) target of £200,000 in its first year as a merged entity.

The firm has endured a year of turmoil since the April 2007 merger of Shakespeares and Putsmans, which saw a reduction in the number of partners from 49 to 32, of whom 18 are equity partners.

Chief executive Paul Wilson told The Lawyer: “We actively encouraged three values – winning and retaining clients, developing people ;and ;firmwide leadership. People who didn’t want to or couldn’t live up to those have left.”

The equity spread runs from ;£165,000 ;to £245,000, with a PEP of £201,000. Turnover is up from a combined £17.8m at the time of the merger to £18.8m.

In addition to the streamlined partnership, the firm has slashed its support functions and embarked on a massive recruitment drive that has seen it boost its number of lawyers from 140 to 200.

“We had 1.6 support staff for every fee-earner and now we have two fee-earners for every member of support staff,” ;said ;Wilson. “We’ve just been creating operational efficiencies.”

Property accounts for around a third of revenue, or £6m; the corporate/commercial department brought in £4.5m; defendant insurance accounted for £3.5m; litigation revenue totalled £3m; and the private client team reaped £2m. Key clients include McCarthy & Stone, Royal Bank of Scotland and Cap Gemini.

The huge number of departures has led to some bad press locally, but Wilson, who arrived at Shakespeares after six months at the helm of Olswang in Reading, is keen to engage with the community and has encouraged staff to launch a series of charity initiatives.

For more on the financial results at all the top UK firms as they come in, see our Top of the PEPs 2008 blog here