Scottish heavyweight Shepherd + Wedderburn has posted a 13.4 per cent increase in revenues for the year 2003-04, with annual income rising from £25.6m to a record £29m.
New Shepherd + Wedderburn chief executive Patrick Andrews, who took over as firm head from Paul Hally last week, said the changes were in line with the firm’s strategy of building longstanding relationships with UK-wide clients. “We’ve added around 300 new commercial clients in the past year, which include one-off instructions and some that we see as potential longstanding relationships,” said Andrews. “The financial results are largely in line with our expectations and reflect our continued support for our existing client base.”
Andrews said the firm’s commercial property, litigation and pensions groups had performed particularly well, as did the corporate finance team. He was, however, optimistic that the latter group would be no more than £100,000 off budget once the figures had been finalised.
Andrews refused to comment on the firm’s profits performance, but indicated that a slight rise was expected. In 2002-03, average profits per equity partner at Shepherd + Wedderburn stood at £194,000.
The firm has also announced the expansion of its London office and a new office in Aberdeen. London currently has five partners and 11 other fee-earners, and the new 8,000sq ft space will be slightly more than three times its current space. However, Andrews admitted that any future expansion will be partly through relocating current Shepherd + Wedderburn lawyers and not primarily through lateral hires.
The Aberdeen office, which is due to open in July, will be an energy-related initiative, although it is to be competition and regulatory specialist Richard Coburn who will head it. Andrews said the firm was currently working on approximately 40 energy-related projects out of its Edinburgh and Glasgow offices for clients such as Cairn Energy, Edinburgh Oil & Gas and services supply company Wood Group.