Shepherd & Wedderburn prepares for investment as turnover rises 7 per cent to £38.3m

Shepherd & Wedderburn’s chief executive Stephen Gibb has pledged to invest in internal training programmes after turnover at the firm rose 7 per cent in 2013/14. 

Financials at the Scottish firm rose across the board in the year ending April 2014, with turnover up from £35.9m to £38.3m, average profit per equity partner (PEP) rising 10 per cent from £253,000 to £278,000 and net profit up 10 per cent to £14.3m. 

“We are investing in training programmes for all our people in relation to winning work and client care,” Gibb told The Lawyer. “We’re continuing to work hard on efficiency, process and project management, with training programmes and specific workstreams across several work areas, and will expand that. Further upgrades of our technology infrastructure continue apace to support this.” 

The numbers are an improvement from 2012/13, when turnover dropped 3 per cent, PEP rose 1.5 per cent and net profit was stable.

The turnover drop that year was shared by other Scottish firms with London offices – legacy Dundas & Wilson and Maclay Murray & Spens, two of the larger Scottish firms present in the City, both reported sizeable falls in revenue for the 2012/13 financial year.

In the last 12 months Shepherd & Wedderburn boosted its real estate practice in London, hiring Addleshaw Goddard property head Jonathan Rickard and Kennedys partner Sally Morris-Smith (4 June 2013).  

Real estate is one of Shepherd & Wedderburn’s three core sectors, alongside energy and natural resources and finance. In 2013/14 the energy practice generated £9.9m of total revenue, while real estate pumped in £7.3m and finance £5.3m, marking a rise of 23 per cent. 

Gibb said the last two quarters of the year were particularly strong, with the firm now ahead of its budget. The firm’s clients include Scottish Power, John Lewis and Sainsbury’s. 

“Going forward we have no debt, cash in the bank, a strong balance sheet, excellent year-end results and an exciting number of business opportunities,” he added in a statement.

In 2013 there were just 17 Scottish firms in the UK 200, down from 20 the year before. Consolidation and the grim economy have taken their toll and made the Scottish legal market more competitive than ever (14 October 2013).

This week Thorntons announced a three-way merger with Murray Donald and Steel Eldridge Stewart, creating a £20m firm (9 June 2014).

 Scotland top 15 2012/13

Rank Firm Turnover 2012-13 (£m) Turnover 2011-12(£m) Per cent change RPP 2012-2013 (£K) RPP 2011-12 (£k) Per cent change
1 Dundas & Wilson 48.7 54.4 -10.48 624 680 -8.24
2 Brodies 46 42.8 7.48 613 620 -1.13
3 Maclay Murray & Spens 40.9 46.9 -12.79 705 782 -9.85
4 Burness Paull 38.7 24.3 59.26 679 715 -5.03
5 Shepherd & Wedderburn 35.9 37 -2.97 608 607 0.16
6 Dickson Minto 35.3 36.4 -3.02 2,076 2,275 -8.75
7 Turcan Connell 22.4 22.3 0.45 1,067 1,062 0.47
8 Anderson Strathern 21.8 23 -5.22 419 411 1.95
9 Harper Macleod 21 19.3 8.81 429 429 0.00
10 Digby Brown 19.7 17.9 10.06 1,159 1,053 10
11 MacRoberts 17.5 17.3 1.16 380 376 1.06
12 Thorntons Solicitors 14.29 13.2 8.26 529 489 8.18
13 Morton Fraser 13.7 14.1 -2.84 428 455 -5.93
14 Tods Murray 12.62 12.2 3.44 371 370 0.27
15 McClure Naismith 12 13.2 -9.09 353 367 -3.81

Source: The Lawyer UK 200 2014