Simmons & Simmons managing partner Mark Dawkins has vowed to drag the firm's average profit per equity partner (PEP) beyond the £600,000 barrier during the next financial year.
This will be achieved through managing costs and by scrutinising partners' performances, including de-equitisation if necessary, Dawkins exclusively told The Lawyer.
"De-equitisation is a continuing process and is merely a tool. Partners know what's expected of them and it won't apply to one category or level of partner," said Dawkins.
Although the firm's PEP in the last financial year, at £470,000, was a remarkable 22 per cent up on the previous year, Dawkins still considers this figure "not up where it should be".
The PEP target for the 2006-07 financial year is "somewhere above" £500,000, while the £600,000 target will apply to the 2007-08 financial year.
Partner performance over a three-year period will be looked at. Dawkins said there will be no mass de-equitisation, as there was in 2004, and there will be no set number of partners he plans to de-equitise.
De-equitising partners is nothing new at Simmons. In 2004 the firm axed 11, or 12 per cent, of its London equity partners to tackle a three-year profit slide.
The profitability push comes as Dawkins is looking to expand in Germany and Spain. Simmons currently has 23 lawyers in Düsseldorf and Frankfurt and 15 in Madrid. "We'd like to be roughly double that in both cities," said Dawkins.