SJ Berwin jubilant as PEP skyrockets by 40 per cent

SJ Berwin has shown a strong recovery following its aborted merger with Proskauer Rose, posting a 5 per cent increase in income and a 40 per cent rise in average profit per equity partner (PEP).

Rob Day
Rob Day

Revenue jumped from £171m in 2009-10 to £179m in 2010-11, while PEP saw an increase from £447,000 to £626,000.

The firm confirmed that it was on schedule with ­payments to partners and that an ­efficiency drive had boosted margins.

Turnover fell by 7 per cent in 2009-10. The previous year turnover fell by 14 per cent and PEP by 50 per cent.

Partners also suffered from payment delays of six months in 2009 and unpaid profit distributions of some £18m last year.

Corporate, banking and dispute resolution were key sources of growth in 2010-11, all posting double-digit percentage rises in income.

Managing partner Rob Day said real estate also enjoyed a strong year, despite the departure of practice head Jon Vivian and a team to Irwin Mitchell last September.

Talks with US firm Proskauer began at the start of the 2010-11 financial year, but were abandoned in November as the gap in the firms’ profits made the pair a mismatch.
Day said that the firm had controlled costs, but it was not currently making cuts.

He told The Lawyer: “We’re very pleased with [the figures] as a recovery. We’ve had a very strong year across Continental Europe. Dubai has had a creditable year, which is great news.”