Birchams scraps hours targets in turnover drive

Bircham Dyson Bell

has abolished annual hours targets for its fee-earners in favour of setting annual revenue targets as part of the firm’s aim to reach the £50m turnover mark.

Birchams, which broke the £30m turnover barrier in 2005-06, implemented the system from 1 June, the start of its financial year.

Managing partner Guy Vincent said the firm hoped that abolishing hours targets and setting individual goals for fee-earners would make lawyers more aware of the financial implications of running a law firm.

“With our wide variety of practice areas we tend to charge a number of different rates across the firm, so this is a way to try and iron out the differences by setting individual targets,” Vincent said. “We’ll still look at hours, but each fee-earner will negotiate with their line manager an annual financial target based on the work they do and the rates they can charge.”

Vincent said the system would be monitored and evaluated throughout the year to ensure it was achieving its objectives.

“It’s important for our lawyers to understand how the firm works, why they’re asked to do timesheets and send out bills and how that impacts on the financial health,” he said.

The firm posted a £30.1m turnover figure last year, a 22 per cent increase on its previous year’s result of £24.7m.

The 2005-06 profit per equity partner (PEP) figure rose by £81,000 from £229,000 last year to £310,000, representing an increase of 35 per cent.

Birchams has a five-year business plan, which aims to see it break through the £50m barrier by 2011, while steadily increasing PEP each year.