Bristows has seen its revenue dip by 3.6 per cent in 2013/14, ending a half-decade of strong growth.
Turnover at the Unilever House-based firm doubled between 2007/08 and 2012/13, when it reached a high of £35.4m, but in 2013/14 that amount was down to £34.1m. Profit per equity partner (PEP) was also down significantly, from £438,000 to £363,000. Bristows is one of the UK’s few remaining all-equity partnerships.
The firm’s joint managing partner Mark Watts said: “During the last five years we have really bucked the market trend, and 2012/13 was the best in our 175-year history. When you’re comparing results with a stellar year, inevitably they look a bit worse, but we’ve had a good year and we’re very happy with the results.
”Other firms are now recording increases because they are only now coming out of that flat recession period and so are posting their revenue rises from a much lower base, whereas we are five years ahead of them in that respect.”
The firm’s partner headcount remained stable in 2013/14, but Watts promised a spree of new partner hires over the next year, with three internal partner promotions and three lateral hires to come shortly.
“There will be a significant amount of growth, all in areas that are complimentary to our sector focus,” Watts said.
Bristows made up three partners at the start of the last financial year in its first promotions round for two years. In January the firm turned to legacy Lawrence Graham for the hire of competition partner Rosemary Choueka (2 January 2014).