Watson Burton chief emerges as Newcastle’s top legal earner

Watson Burton chief emerges as Newcastle’s top legal earner” />Watson Burton’s Andrew Hoyle is the best-paid lawyer in Newcastle, The Lawyer UK 100 Annual Report 2006 survey reveals.

Managing partner Hoyle earned £850,000 at the financial year-end, more than double the money banked by top earners at North East competitors. Average profit per equity partner (PEP) at Watson Burton was £712,000.

Hoyle said: “The level of returns we’ve had in the firm reflects the success the business has had in recent years and the contributions that have been made.”

At Tyneside rival Dickinson Dees top earners bagged a comparatively modest £351,000, while at Ward Hadaway senior rainmakers banked £380,000.

However, as rivals are quick to point out, Watson Burton’s high PEP is aided by its small equity partnership. The firm has just seven equity partners out of a total of 40 partners, compared with 33 out of 65 at Dickinson Dees, for example.

But Hoyle rebutted the criticism.”We try to reward people proportionally to their contribution, and people who justify a high level of reward at Watson Burton can expect to receive one. While narrow, the equity partnership is not jealously guarded,” he said.