Lovells’ staff costs rose by £29m in 2008-09

According to the accounts, which were filed with Companies House, Lovells Group paid £255m in staff costs for fee earners and support staff during 2008-09, as opposed to £226m the previous year.

Salaries jumped by £28m and social security costs by £2m, while pension costs fell over the same period.

At the same time the total number of fee earners increased at the firm by 67, but a fall in support staff by 114 meant that the total number of staff reduced.

The accounts also reveal that total turnover was slightly higher than the figure estimated at the end of the financial year. Last summer the firm expected to have made £531m, although this has now come in as £536m – an eight per cent jump on the previous year’s figure of £495m.

Lovells managing partner David Harris (pictured) said: “Our performance has been solid in a difficult market and the measures taken provide a robust base for the current financial year. Our international reach and practice breadth have proved to be a real asset for the firm and for our clients.”

Lovells recently agreed a merger with US firm Hogan & Hartson effective from 1 May 2010. In the last financial year figures are available for (2008) Hogan turned over $922.5m (£572.05m).

Regulatory approval is still required for the new firm, but it is anticipated that it will comprise a US LLP, an international LLP, potentially a Swiss Verein and the various businesses that are affiliated to these structures. Lovells will become part of Hogan’s existing US LLP, which will be rebranded Hogan Lovells, while the reverse will happen in Europe and Asia.