Scotland’s Harper Macleod posts growth in turnover and PEP

Scottish firm Harper Macleod saw revenues rise 6.5 per cent in the last financial year, up from £14.1m in 2008-09 to £15m.

At the same time average profit per equity partner (PEP) rose 9 per cent from £231,000 to £252,000. Net profit at the end of the year stood at £4.81m, giving a profit margin of 34 per cent.

Over the year the firm’s partner headcount increased from 41 to 43, while the number of fee-earners at the firm rose from 130 to 146.

According to firm chairman Lorne Crerar it was the firm’s decision in March 2008 to retrain and redeploy 20 per cent of its corporate, real estate and private client lawyers into insurance, debt recovery, insolvency and banking that allowed it to expand while other firms were making redundancies.

“For more than a year, we’ve been battling against a strong economic opponent that has claimed many businesses already,” he said. “The fact we’ve actually grown our business in spite of market trends is testament to my colleagues all having faith in our strategic direction. The goal for 2010 is to build upon the solid platform we’ve created and return the firm to greater margins of profitability. The firm sees the key challenge to identify future legal need and structure the firm and our offering appropriately.”

Chief executive Martin Darroch said the firm is looking at four key sectors as a means of harnessing future growth.

“Our management team’s currently working on the firm’s three-year strategy, which involves identifying the sectors where our key skills base lie and where we perceive the most opportunities to be,” he said.

“Energy and renewables will remain a target area for us, given the 2020 government targets. We’ll also be concentrating our efforts towards the public sector and retail industries.

“Our opinion is that the wheel will not turn back to where it once was and we need to adapt and equip ourselves for a new future,” Darroch added.