The past five years have not been easy for Addleshaw Goddard. The firm’s revenue fell 7 per cent from £173.1m to £161.9m between 2008/09 and 2010/11 and despite finances looking up in 2011/12, when Addleshaws reported a 30 per cent increase in net profit, it has shown no notable compound growth in turnover since 2007/08.
This year’s figures tell a similar story. Fee income was down 2 per cent to £167m. Profit margin was 27 per cent, up from 26.5 per cent in the previous year and average profit per equity partner (PEP) was up 2 per cent to £457,000. The firm is yet to release numbers of lawyers, partners and full equity partners for 2012/13.
Profit per partner has increased year-on-year since 2009, although the number of partners has decreased from 182 in 2009 to 157 in 2012, the most recent The Lawyer UK 200 figures available).
Addleshaws has also reduced headcount lower down the ranks. The firm announced redundancy consultations alongside its financials in 2012 and 2011, cutting 24 fee-earners in 2012 and 40 support staff in 2011. Addleshaws’ management admitted at the time that natural attrition rates had fallen among senior fee-earners, preventing younger lawyers from moving up the ranks.
In 2011/12 there were 603 lawyers turning over an average £281,000 in revenue each, and 157 partners turning over £1.08m each. That compares with 619 lawyers and 182 partners in 2008/09, when the firm reported revenue per lawyer of £280,000 and revenue per partner of £951,000.
After five years’ weathering the downturn in unspectacular fashion, Addleshaws has finally woken up to the commercial realities of a stagnant domestic market and started looking east.
Like several of its rivals it has become increasingly apparent that the best way for the firm to stay competitive and grow is to expand internationally. Cue its investment in Asia and the Middle East, with the firm opening its first international office in Singapore.
Singapore was followed swiftly by openings in Dubai, Hong Kong, Oman and Qatar and most recently a formal alliance with Hashidate Law Office in Tokyo.
In May 2013 the international division headed by Andrew Carpenter was launched. The firm hopes the move will help boost numbers. All too tempting to say better late than never.
Partner hires and promotions
External partner hires 2012/13
Richard Chere, Barclays; Tim Field, Simmons & Simmons; Michael Hunter, Lupton Fawcett; Brian McDonnell, Olswang; Nichola Peters, Herbert Smith Freehills; Simon Prendergast, Eversheds; Paul Michael Rebus, Eversheds; Ben Rodham, Linklaters
Andy Bates, business support; Monica Brij, real estate; Rosanna Bryant, financial services; Louisa Caswell, litigation; Jon Cheney, professional practices; Alex Dumphy, banking; Steve Mackie, banking;
Joe Wilkinson, construction litigation
Addleshaws’ top five recent deals
Advised pub company Admiral Taverns on its £200m acquisition by US-based private investment company Cerberus Capital Management
Advised student accommodation provider UPP Group on its £5bn property-backed bond programme
Advised Standard Life on Marston’s £110m sale-and-leaseback pub deals
Advised the Co-operative Group on the £142.3m sale-and-leaseback of its new head office building in Angel Square, Manchester
Advised Leicestershire-based Shepshed Building Society on its merger with Nottingham Building Society