Herbies’ staff costs rose by £17m in 2009-10 despite falling headcount

Herbert Smith saw employee costs grow by £17m in the 2009-10 financial  year despite the fact that its total staff headcount dropped year-on-year.

Salaries, social security and pension costs increased from £169.5m in 2008-09 to £186.3m in 2009-10. Over the same period the total number of employees dropped from 2,245 to 2,240 and the firm froze junior associate salaries.

The increase could be related to costs associated with restructuring, but the firm was unable to confirm this.

Around the start of the 2009-10 financial year the firm announced that it would be making 84 members of staff redundant including corporate and real estate fee-earners and support staff.

Last year the highest paid member made £1.2m, an increase from the previous year’s figure of £1.1m.

The accounts also reveal that total audited turnover was £458.8m, £9m higher than the figure that the firm reported to The Lawyer UK 200, and that total bank borrowings fell by a fifth.

The LLP and its subsidiaries had £59.1m of bank borrowings at 30 April 2010, down from £75.6m one year before.