Lovells, one of the few firms yet to make redundancies, increased its staff costs by nearly 20 per cent during the last financial year, according to its LLP accounts.
The firm’s first LLP filing reveals a healthy financial position at the end of the 2007-08 financial year, with £14.4m net cash held despite an increase in the firm’s overdraft from virtually nothing to nearly £3m.
Managing partner David Harris (pictured) was generally upbeat but warned: “We are, however, attuned to the pressures of the market downturn and will take appropriate steps to safeguard profitability as conditions demand.”
The firm increased the number of fee-earners across its network by 19.2 per cent from 1,279 to 1,524 and the number of support staff by 5.5 per cent from 1.577 to 1,664. This caused a subsequent rise in staff costs of 19.9 per cent to £225m.
“Our practice around the world has been significantly reinforced throughout the year as we have sought to develop further our capabilities, with particular investment at partner level in Continental Europe. Elsewhere we’ve undertaken a substantial programme of investment in Asia, establishing our presence in Dubai and recruiting our first team of Bengoshi lawyers in Japan,” noted Harris in his summary of the report.
Revenue increased 15 per cent from £429m to £495m. Average profit per equity partner or equivalent reached £661,000 in 2007-08 compared with £592,000 for the previous year. Earnings per equity partner ranged from £413,000 to £826,000 in 2007-08 compared with a range of £366,000 to
£732,000 in 2006-07.