UK top 200 ranking: 116
Wedlake Bell’s 2011–12 results do not take account of the firm’s merger with Cumberland Ellis in April 2012, a tie-up which both firms, now operating under the name Wedlake Bell, anticipate will push them into the top 100 for 2012–13.
For the most recent complete financial year, however, turnover at Wedlake Bell fell from £18.6m to £18m, with profit dropping by 24 per cent to £2.2m. The drop in profit follows a 14 per cent dip last year after a record 67 per cent increase between 2008-09 and 2009–10.
Average profit per equity partner (PEP) slipped even further in 2011–12, falling 35 per cent to £135,000. The significant drop was pinned on expenses such as salary rises and hires plus an extremely quiet three months across all practice areas between July and September. The equity spread was £120,000 to £140,000 last year while £5.3m was available for payment to all classes of Wedlake Bell’s 38 partners, giving an earnings per partner that is slightly higher than PEP, at £139,000.
Costs such as office space — currently 26,474sq ft of it at a total cost of £2m — are expected to fall dramatically in the current financial year as the merged firm, which expects to see equity partner numbers grow from 16 to more than 22, begins to operate under one roof. Total debt last year was £3.7m.
Senior partner Martin Arnold was elected managing partner for a four-year term in November. Of the 22 partners that joined Wedlake Bell from Cumberland Ellis in April, only two are on the eight-person management board. After two years another election process will take place.
Wedlake Bell has reformed its secretarial system, outsourcing a chunk of work to a company in South Africa.
Overview52 Bedford Row
Turnover (£m): 18
Total lawyers: 76