Field Fisher’s turnover and profit dip during 2009-10

Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW) managing partner Moira Gilmour has defended her firm’s strategy after it posted falling turnover, net profit and average profit per equity partner (PEP) figures for the 2009-10 financial year.

Moira Gilmour
Moira Gilmour

Turnover at the firm dropped by 3 per cent to £92m while net profit fell by £3.3m to £16.7m, and PEP was down 7.6 per cent to £476,000.

Gilmour said that while many of the firm’s rivals slashed costs – mainly via redundancies – FFW continued with its investment programme after implementing its redundancy programme early last year (16 January 2009).

Investments in the last financial year mainly revolved around strengthening its offices in Paris (13 July 2009) and Brussels (15 April 2010).

In May it brought in a five-strong clinical negligence team from Charles Russell (3 May 2010).

Gilmour said: “I’m pleased with the firm’s performance in the last year given the difficult economic climate. We’ve made considerable investments in the practice that will stand us in good stead for the coming years.

“Anyone can grow profits by cutting partners – that’s been the untold story this year. What’s important is the underlying profit, not taking short-term measures. Cost-cutting has its place but that was in 2008-09. 2009-10 was about consolidation and we have to think about long-term growth.”

Despite this year’s drop, since 2006-07 the firm’s turnover has risen by 36 per cent from £67.7m.

Gilmour added: “We’ve launched new practices in Brussels and Paris and that requires investment. A lot of firms have used this as an opportunity to get rid of dead wood but we’ve always closely measured partner performance and didn’t need to make those cuts.

“It’s a great opportunity for us because there are so many partners in the market.”