Cripps bucks trend with growth acceleration

Tunbridge Wells firm Cripps Harries Hall has posted a muted financial performance for 2007-8 although growth picked up in the second half of the year.

Over the 12 months, turnover increased by 8 per cent to £19m while net profits rose 6 per cent to £5.2m. The firm’s average profit per equity partner (PEP) figure rose by 5 per cent to £200,000.

Managing partner Jonathan Denny said: “I think although lots of firms have reported seemingly very spectacular results, our second half was better than our first half and we are pretty pleased to come out of the year with a small increase.”

Cripps’ turnover in the second half of the year exceeded first year-half revenues by 12 per cent, Denny said.

Across departments, the main gains were made in the public sector and private client teams, which saw 29 per cent and 12.5 per cent increases in fees respectively.

The public sector team particularly benefited from its appointment to the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) panel early in the financial year, taking the group’s total turnover up to £1.5m.

Private client, the firm’s largest group, billed £6.4m. Denny said he hoped this area would grow further in the coming year. He said: “Matrimonial work generally increases when times are hard, which is maybe a depressing reality but true. Things like probate are not sexy areas but good to have when transactional work may be in short supply.”

The corporate team did not fare as well as other practice areas, posting a 5 per cent increase in revenues. In the previous year a major corporate litigation had boosted figures.

Turnover in Cripps’ portfolio property group, which had grown by a 48 per cent during 2006-07, stayed mostly static this year at £2.5m as a result of the decline in real estate work.