ASB Law’s revenue has plummeted by almost 50 per cent between 2003 and 2013 to £8.8m in a tumultuous decade for the firm.
The South East firm, formed by a three-way merger of Argles & Court, Burstows and Stonehams in 1999, posted a turnover of £17.7m in 2003. By the end of the 2012/13 year, this had dropped to £8.8m – with turnover declining by 20 per cent from 2011/12’s result of £11m.
The last decade has seen several office closures, redundancies and the shock departure of CEO Christopher Honeyman Brown (20 February 2006).
Managing partner Andrew Clinton defended the most recent results, claiming that they are a part of deliberate shift in strategy with the firm moving away from higher-volume, lower-value work and replacing this with lower-volume, higher-margin matters. He added that the strategy, which he admitted took longer than expected to come to fruition, is now starting to pay off and turnover is currently running 15 per cent above the same period last year.
“In the past few years we’ve been thinking strategically on which clients we want to work for and the markets we should operate in. I see [the decline in turnover] being part of a managed process in terms of refocusing the business. The turning point was half-way through the last financial year,” explained Clinton.
Clinton refused to disclosed average profit per equity partner for the last financial year, but the firm’s LLP statements for 2011/12 revealed a figure of £102,012.
ASB now has the lowest turnover in its peer group of firms in the South East. Rivals Brachers, Cripps Harries Hall, DMH Stallard, Thomas Eggar and Thomson Snell & Passmore have posted turnover figures of £11.76, £17.9m, £18.5m, £36.6m and £14.4m in 2012/13.