Speechly Bircham revenue holds still as PEP falls by 2.3 per cent

Speechly Bircham saw a slight growth in net profit but a similar drop in turnover and PEP in 2012/13, the firm’s financial results have revealed, after a year characterised by a number of departures, lateral hires and the failure of merger talks with Withers.

The firm’s turnover dropped very slightly to £57.5m last year, from £57.6m in 2011/12. Net profit increased from £11.3m to £11.6m, while PEP fell 2.3 per cent from £300,000 in 2011/12 to £293,000 last year. PEP has now dropped by 23.7 per cent compared to £384,000 in 2010/11 (18 July 2012)

Meanwhile Speechly’s equity spread has narrowed. The highest earner in 2011/12 received £400,000, which dropped by 7.5 per cent to £370,000 in 2012/13. There was a smaller decrease at the bottom of equity, with the lowest-paid equity partners receiving £175,000 in 2012/13 compared to £180,000 the previous year.

The firm now has a total of 84 partners – seven fewer than last year, after a raft of departures in 2012/13. During the year, Speechly saw the exit of about 21 partners, six of which were retirements. Losses included head of planning and environment Clare Prior, head of international private client Charles Gothard, and immigration head Tracy Evlogidis. 

The losses were mitigated by partner additions over the year, including head of finance Martin Lucas, formerly finance director at White & Case, and immigration head Rose Carey, who was previously at Squire Sanders. 

The firm’s two international offerings, Luxembourg and Zurich, which both opened in 2011, contributed £2.4m (4.2 per cent) to the firm’s total revenue over the past year. Between them, they house 10 lawyers, including four partners. 

Corporate and finance brought in 53 per cent of total firm revenue in 2012/13, having added five additional partners and a new practice group head in the shape of Tom Shaw. Property and construction also inched up from 23 per cent of the firm’s total, to 26 per cent. 

Speechly failed to secure a £170m merger with private client rivals Withers earlier this year after months of talks (23 May 2013).