‘Disappointed’ Manches sees profit, revenue dip

Manches’ gross revenues and average profit both dropped last year, its 2004 year-end results reveal. But there has been a dramatic increase in the top of equity as the firm’s new merit element to its distribution system kicks in.

As first revealed on www.thelawyer.com (21 March), turnover dropped only slightly, from £23.8m to £23.5m; but average profits, which saw a massive 51 per cent rise in 2003, from £138,000 to £209,000, fell back to below £200,000 last year.

Manches chair Jane Simpson admitted that she was “disappointed” by the firm’s performance last year, but argued that 2004 had been a year of transition. “Now we’re investing for the future,” she said, “notably in new talent. We think we have a very good, strong springboard for growth.”

The firm is targeting an average profit per equity partner of £300,000 by 2007, with Simpson “confident” of meeting that target.

The firm’s introduction of a merit element to its lockstep allows significantly greater compensation for the top-performing partners. In 2003, the top of equity was £280,000; last year it was £540,000.

The previous 12 months also saw Manches restructure its IP and technology group, with the exit of partners Vernan Dennis and Ross Risby to Edwin Coe and DAC respectively. Alex Carter-Silk now heads the team, which, along with retail, real estate and construction, forms the backbone of Manches’ practice.