BP Collins chief operating officer Karl Wingfieldhas a vision for the firm – to be a key player in the Thames Valley market. He does not believe it can achieve that without consolidation though, and finding an appropriate merger partner has not been without its problems.
Firm: BP Collins
Chief operating officer: Karl Wingfield
Number of partners: 17
Number of lawyers: 37
Number of fee-earners: 51
Number of offices: One
Location: Gerrards Cross
Main practice areas: Corporate, commercial litigation, private client, property
Key clients: AMF Bowling, Biffa, Epilepsy Society, Norgine, Sacla UK, Summerleaze
“Most firms come to the table from different places and reconciling where they’re coming from with where we want to be is the thing,” he muses. “Prior to the recession we tried to merge twice but failed. We have conversations and look at the potential, but going from there to a deal is difficult.”
Financially BP Collins is in a reasonably stable position, despite seeing turnover rise by just 1 per cent for the 2010-11 financial year. This came after
a 17 per cent drop during the previous year.
Due to this muted performance Wingfield has
continued the strict stance on profit distributions that began in 2009-10. The policy is to distribute profit to partners in two tranches following the financial year-end, in July and in November. But in 2009-10 there were no distributions, only monthly drawings. Distributions were reinstated for 2010-11.
“I want to be certain that we’re on target in terms of fees and profits for this year,” Wingfield stresses.
While the firm operates a lockstep that runs from 80 to 100 points over five years, as of 2010-11 all 11 equity partners were on plateau. As such they each had £145,000 invested in the firm. Non-equity partners, who receive fixed shares of profit, which can be topped up with discretionary bonuses, contribute between £5,000 and £20,000.
Non-lawyer Wingfield oversees the management of the firm and there is a board in place to handle softer issues comprising Wingfield, senior partner David Stanning and three elected partners.