LG: “frustrating and disappointing”

Well you have to hand it to LG’s managing partner Hugh Maule.

Top of the PEPs Revenue PEP Table

Well you have to hand it to LG’s managing partner Hugh Maule.

When commenting on his firm’s results (PEP down by 3 per cent, revenue up by just 2 per cent) Maule laid his cards on the table and described LG’s latest results as “frustrating and disappointing”.

In similar situations other law firm managers might have baulked at the charge that there was anything amiss, arguing that his or her firm was “in a period of consolidation”. All might have been blamed on that most convenient of scapegoats – the credit crunch.

This is, as Maule acknowledges to The Lawyer, a challenging time to be taking over as managing partner and he says that the firm’s woes are partly down to exposure through its real estate department, which accounts for the bulk of turnover.

But he admits that taking on new offices on the South Bank is part of the explanation for the dip in profit and acknowledges that the problems go back further than August 2007.

While this year’s figures are almost excusable given the economic climate, last year most of the rest of the market was experiencing boom times. Maule admits he’s “not exactly over the moon” about performance in general over the last two years.

There have been some good departments, wealth planning and corporate hit 18 and 16 per cent growth this year, real estate has done better in the past than it did this year. But a snapshot of the last couple of years shows that this is the second year that PEP has dropped (last year by a larger amount in what was a buoyant market), while revenue didn’t grow at all last year.

The firm obviously realises that action needs to be taken. A management overhaul has given more importance to the business and finance subdivisions and each of the practice group heads have come to the end of their terms and been replaced. Perhaps the fresh blood will help.

But Maule is going to be hiring rather than firing. Nobody is going to be made redundant in the small finance and corporate teams, which experienced static growth and real estate is to be grown, along with wealth planning and corporate.

A plan certainly needs to be implemented.

Previous blogs:

27-June-2008, Walker Morris: Turn down the volume

27-June-2008, Hill Dickinson: A tale of two cities

20-June-2008, LG: “frustrating and disappointing”

13-June-2008, Trowers & Hamlins: set back, or de-railed?

12-June-2008, Stephenson Hardwood: joining the club

11-June-2008, Ward Hadaway, Leeds and Hoyle: the long game

10-June-2008, Lewis Silkin: credit where due?

09-June-2008, Freshfields: equity cull pays off

06-June-2008, Martineau Johnson: mission accomplished?

05-June-2008, Addleshaw Goddard: babies and bathwater

04-June-2008, Technology firms: RPP reveals all

02-June-2008, The magic circle – a new ring leader to emerge?

30-May-2008, Berwin Leighton Paisner: could do better

29-May-2008, Links to take CC’s crown?

28-May-2008, FFW: surprise performer

22-May-2008, Herbert Smith lays down the gauntlet

19-May-2008, Second tier is out to impress