The embattled firm could not correct the 8 per cent decline in turnover suffered during 2003-04, when it slipped seven spots to 84th place in The Lawyer UK 100 with a turnover of £19.2m.
Preliminary figures for 2004-05 indicate that the firm’s turnover has now fallen to £16.6m, leaving Radcliffes on the brink of dropping out of the top 100 firms altogether.
In 2001 Radcliffes merged with Le Brasseur J Tickle, but the firm lost a key client when it was dropped from the NHS Litigation Authority panel. The firm had recruited a chief executive, Vincent Denham, to modernise and grow the practice. Denham oversaw the Le Brasseur merger, but he fell out with the partnership over the strategic direction of the firm and departed less than two years into the role.
Most recently, Radcliffes has been hit by an exodus of partners, including the loss of commercial dispute resolution head Paul Clements, family department head Roger Cobden-Ramsey and head of property Roger Thornton in 2004.
The drop in the firm’s partner count, though, did have the favourable result of increasing average pro- fit per equity partner by £37,000 to £137,000 during 2004-05.
The firm’s equity spread also improved, with plateau partners receiving £143,000 last year compared with £120,000 in 2003-04, and those at the bottom of equity taking home £105,000 compared with £78,000.