White & Case: PEP drops, London freezes salaries

White & Case has imposed a salary freeze in London after global PEP fell by 4.8 per cent in 2008.

<a class=White & Case: PEP drops, London freezes salaries” />White & Case saw its global profit per equity partner (PEP) figure drop by 4.8 per cent during the 2008 calendar year. The firm’s London office has now implemented a hiring and salary freeze in a bid to cut costs.

The US firm’s PEP dropped from $1.67m at the end of 2007 to $1.59m for the last financial year. Over the same period global turnover grew by 7 per cent, up from $1.36bn up to $1.467bn in 2008. Revenue per lawyer (RPL) dipped by 2.1 per cent from $722,000 down to $707,000.

As revealed by The Lawyer this week White & Case’s London office saw a 4 per cent hike in revenue, up to $245.9m ( 9 February).

The firm has decided to freeze associate salaries at current levels, meaning an associate moving from one year’s post qualification experience (PQE) to two will not receive any pay rise.

White & Case London head Oliver Brettle said: “We’re making every effort to control costs in London. We looked at the market and realised that our associate salaries are above the norm.

“It’s not an easy decision to make, but given the market conditions it’s the right thing to do.”

On the firm’s financial performance, Brettle said the 2008 figures were satisfactory.

He added: “I would describe our performance last year as satisfactory. It’s not cause for celebration, but the firm as a whole is satisfied with the performance.”

Brettle added that the London office’s energy and infrastructure groups performed well last year as well as the firm’s financial restructuring and insolvency practice.

In 2008 the firm invested in its international network, trebling the size of its fledgling Abu Dhabi office, but also trimmed back its global network by closing its Bangkok office in November and axing 3 per cent of its global workforce via redundancies (11 November).

Brettle said: “It’s important for us to make every effort to keep costs down across the firm. Our global presence is a real advantage. At the moment we’re focusing on getting each our offices to work more closely across the network.”

Last year White & Case concluded a management overhaul which divided the firm into regional groups with specific heads in a bid to make the firm more efficient (3 December).

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