Shakespeares’ staff share £700k bonus pot after firm hits £50m target

Midlands-based Shakespeares has divided a £700,000 bonus pool between 661 staff after hitting a £50m revenue target set by chief executive Paul Wilson.

Staff received an average bonus payment of £1,059 each at the year after hitting the £50m target set in 2012.

The £50m figure represents a 10 per cent rise in revenue from £45.5m a year ago. Net profit also saw double-digit growth for the third consecutive year, rising from £11m to £15m but average profit per equity partner (PEP) remained static at £220,000.

Wilson said rather than increasing PEP beyond the firm’s £210,000 to £230,000 target, he would prefer to reward staff for any increase in the net profit metric by awarding bonuses.

Wilson stated his admiration for the John Lewis business model but said it is impossible to replicate precisely at Shakespeares while the firm continues to pursue its acquisition strategy.

“Ideally we would move to the John Lewis model but it’s not practical because of the mergers,” he said.

Shakespeares made two acquisitions in the last financial year, merging with Leicester firm Marrons (31 May 2013), and Coventry-based Newsome Vaughan (5 September 2013).

Of the £6m in revenue that the two mergers will ultimately add to the firm’s topline, Wilson said about half was included in the 2013/14 revenue figure.

Internally, the firm adjusted its partnership model adding a new entry level to its LLP membership. The move resulted in the promotion of 12 senior associates to the new role of legal director.

This means the firm now has four levels of partnership, each with varying degrees of capital investment ranging from £25,000 at the lowest to  £200,000 at the top.

Movement between those levels remains wholly meritocratic and is assessed annually by performance review.