Scottish firm Maclay Murray & Spens saw its profits dip during the 2010-11 financial year, while the firm took on more debt following an office move.
Turnover at the firm in 2010-11 was £47.3m, down from £52.3m in 2009-10. Likewise, operating profit at the firm was down, from £15.1m to £13m.
Average profit per partner also took a slight dip, from £230,000 to £220,000. Meanwhile, the highest paid partner took home £301,000, compared with £345,000 in 2009-10.
“2010-11 was another tough year for the legal sector,” said Chris Smylie, chief executive of Maclay Murray & Spens. “Since the start of the recession we’ve taken appropriate measures to respond to these challenging economic conditions and have been refocusing our business accordingly.
“Our PEP [average profit per equity partner] and PPP [profit per partner] figures held up well, which is important, given that we would see PPP, in particular, as an indicator of the underlying strength of the firm.”
At the same time, the firm’s net debt as of 31 May 2011 was £2m, up from £547,000 at the same date in 2010, while cash in hand and at the bank fell from £1.2m in May 2010, to £896,000 in May 2011.
“In May 2011 we moved to the iconic G1 building in George Square,” said Smylie. “This enabled us to move all our staff in Glasgow into one building, which offers an office on attractive terms and of the highest quality, in one of the most prestigious buildings in Scotland.
“Prudent financial management has been a hallmark of the firm through the recession and we’re very comfortable with our healthy cash position and relatively modest level of borrowings. The increase in borrowings is mainly relating to the fit-out costs of our new Glasgow office.”
The average number of fee-earners at the firm was 238, down from 267 in 2009-10. Over the same period the average number of partners also fell, from 65 to 59.