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Newcastle-based Ward Hadaway’s figures were not overly impressive this year with turnover up by 13 per cent to £28m and average profits per equity partner up a mere 2.5 per cent to £415,000 (The Lawyer, 3rd June).
However, these figures still put it considerably ahead of regional rival Watson Burton, whose profits cratered last year to £220,000 from £712,000 the year before, after the miner’s compensation income stream dried up and the cost of its newly opened London and Leeds offices hit the bottom line.
Ward Hadaway meanwhile, hired the former senior partner and architect of Watson Burton’s Leeds expansion, Andrew Hoyle, who has repeated the Leeds trick at his new home (The Lawyer 3 June), opening there with at least five new partners in July.
So far of course, Leeds has not yet generated any money for the firm, and most of the costs in opening there still lie ahead.
Hoyle’s hire, too, took Ward Hadaway’s tight equity partnership up from 13 to 14, which, if all other things remain equal, would require an increase in profits of around 8 per cent just to keep PEP at the same level.
In short, it is unsurprising that Ward Hadaway’s PEP has not moved in line with the more respectable increase in its turnover.
The firm is clearly making investments, but the key will be that the partners remain interested in the investments for the long term – as it is only there that they will pay.
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