The April 2007 merger of Rising 50 firms Shakespeares Solicitors and Putsmans created a new player in the Birmingham legal market with 280 staff, including 44 partners, and combined revenues of £19.3m. In its final year as a separate firm Shakespeares saw its revenue grow by 6 per cent to £7.7m, while average profit per equity partner (PEP) was less impressive at £124,000. The firm blamed its relatively poor profit performance on a number of exceptional costs that hit the bottom line in its restructuring when preparing for the merger. The pre-merger Shakespeares was a commercial firm with a particular strength in private client, whereas Putsmans was best known for its defendant insurance practice. The merged firm also has a significant property practice. The merged firm is targeting a PEP of around £200,000 for the 2007-08 financial year.