Birmingham giant Wragge & Co has announced a 6.3 per cent jump in profits for 2002-03, even though its turnover has risen by just 2 per cent.
Wragges posted a turnover of £77.8m in 2001-02, which grew marginally to £79.3m this year. Meanwhile, the firm's profits rose by just over 6 per cent from £25.4m to £27m for the same period. Average profits per equity partner rose by 8.5 per cent to £255,000, after a downward revision in 2002 from £245,000 to £235,000.
Wragges' new senior partner Quentin Poole attributed the rise in profits to a reduction in overheads. He said that during the past 12 months the firm has reduced overheads by 2 per cent. Poole also confirmed that a saving of £1.6m was made as a result of a drop in headcount arising out of natural wastage. He said that the number of administration and support staff has fallen by 80, while the number of lawyers has dipped by 10.
The best performers were the employment and pensions and real estate departments, which have both experienced a 10 per cent rise in turnover. Wragges' corporate department has posted a 5 per cent drop in turnover. Poole conceded that there was too much resource in corporate and said that as a result, up to nine of the firm's corporate assistants had been re-deployed to work in non-fee-earning positions. These include two who are on three-month secondments with Poole and the firm's new managing partner Richard Haywood.
On 1 May, Wragges became one of the first UK firms to convert to a limited liability partnership.