Osborne Clarke sees partner profits take a 20 per cent hit

Osborne Clarke has seen its partner profits fall by 20 per cent, citing a refusal to allow last year's harsh technology climate to lead to sacrificial redundancies as the reason

The firm's average profits per equity partner fell from £337,000 to £270,000 last year.
“Partners knew their business response to market conditions in the last financial year would adversely affect their profit shares this year, but took the decision to support those of our people who were operating in difficult markets,” said managing partner Leslie Perrin.
Other technology-focused firms have followed suit, with profits also dropping sharply. Taylor Joynson Garrett (TJG) has seen a 15 per cent drop in average profits per partner (PPP) on last year, from £477,000 to £415,000.
Similarly, average PPP at Bristows dropped 13 per cent from £269,000 to £239,000.
However, revenues at Osborne Clarke rose a staggering 17 per cent to £58.5m. TJG and Bristows recorded more modest revenue increases. TJG's turnover rose 6 per cent to £64.2m, while Bristows saw just a 2 per cent increase, from £17.5 to £18m.
Only Field Fisher Waterhouse bucked the technology downturn, becoming the only TMT-focused law firm to record a rise in both turnover and profits this year. Field Fisher's average PPP are up 15 per cent to £315,000, while turnover rose by 12 per cent to £42.5m.
Field Fisher's head of brands, technology, media and telecommunications, Mark Abell, said one reason for the firm's success was its early move to capitalise on outsourcing work for blue-chip clients. This was one of the only sources of profitable work to come out of the TMT sector this year.
He said: “We anticipated the downturn. Not because we're brilliant, but because we spoke to our clients. We made sure that instead of working for dotbombs, we worked in areas such as outsourcing for blue-chip clients.”
The firm has also targeted public sector clients for technology related work It advised the London Borough of Lewisham on a £60m e-government project, for example.
Bristows senior partner Sally Field said she was not disappointed with the firm's results. In 2000/2001, turnover rose by 25 per cent, which was a respectable percentage increase that year given the febrile state of the technology market in 2000.
TJG attributed its drop in profits partly to the fact that its average number of equity partners had risen from 55.1 to 58.5 over the past financial year.
“We're not ashamed of our profits – far from it. There's not much you can do when the market is working against you,” said TJG managing partner Gary Moss.