Wragge & Co stashes away £14m despite profit slump

Wragge & Co stashes away £14m despite profit slump” />Wragge & Co had £13.9m of cash at bank last year despite its worst profit performance for a decade, according to its first limited-liability partnership (LLP) statement, seen by The Lawyer.

Wragges’ LLP accounts also show that the firm is one of the most heavily capitalised in The Lawyer UK 100 Annual Report, with £17.8m partners’ capital on a turnover of £80m. This represents a slight increase in capital retained in the firm, up from £16.2m the previous year. The cash at bank figure of £13.9m was down slightly from £15.3m the previous year.

Senior partner Quentin Poole said: “We probably pay out a bit less in drawings than other law firms, but we prefer to be conservatively financed.

“Although last year was our least profitable year for a decade, you might have expected us to have used up our cash balances. In fact we conserved even more. That’s a culture thing.”

Wragges’ profit per equity partner (PEP) in 2003-04 averaged £208,000, down 17 per cent from £251,000 the previous year.

However, the highest paid partner that year earned £696,000 – thought to be former managing partner John Crabtree, who retired last year. In 2002-03 the highest-paid partner earned £443,000, but Crabtree’s final share is understood to have been in special recognition of his contribution as senior partner between 1993 and 2003. Poole declined to comment on individuals.

The national firm is predicting a 2004-05 turnover rise of 10 per cent with a profit increase of 30 per cent, which would take average PEP to some £270,000.

Poole said: “Our profits by the end of February this year were more than our profits for the whole of last year.”