Shepherd & Wedderburn posts 11 per cent revenue drop

Scottish firm Shepherd & Wedderburn increased profits by 9 per cent in the 2009-10 financial year despite revenues dropping by 11 per cent.

The 98 per cent of staff who took a one-off period of unpaid leave – a cost-saving measure introduced last year – are also set for a loyalty payback in which they will receive around five days’ pay.

Turnover fell from £39.6m in 2008-09 to £35.3m, while profits rose form £7.7m to £8.7m. Chief executive Patrick Andrews said the firm would publish its profit per equity partner figures next month, but expected to see an increase on last year.

Andrews said: “The results are very credible in what has been a challenging year. We want to come out of the downturn in a strong position but at the same time are looking to continue investment to take advantage of opportunities. It’s a difficult balance to strike.”

The firm has made four lateral partner hires in the past six months including employment head Neil Maclean (9 November 2009). The others are London based property specialist Michael Scott (18 January 2010), commercial litigator Guy Harvey (23 November 2009) and oil and gas partner Kevin McGrory, who is based in the firm’s Aberdeen office.

Before the recession the firm cut back on high-volume work including medical negligence. Andrews said this had affected the firm’s income in the short-term but insisted it was “the right thing for the business to do”.