Bird & Bird, Mishcons and Shoosmiths post rising revenues for 2016-17

Bird & Bird, Mishcon de Reya and Shoosmiths have all posted rising revenues for the 2016-17 financial year, with Mishcons enjoying another standout year of double-digit growth.

Mishcons took in revenues of £149.4m during the year, an increase of 17% on 2015-16, while profit per equity partner (PEP) hit £1.1m, a 10% increase on last year’s figure of of £1m.

By practice area, the firm saw the highest revenue growth in litigation, which earned £57m, representing 38% of the total revenue, followed by real estate at £32m (22%) and private client at £21m (14%).

The firm’s most high profile role during the year saw it act for Gina Miller on her successful challenge of the government’s right to implement Brexit without approval from parliament.

Kevin GoldManaging partner Kevin Gold (pictured) said: “The past year has been one of the most uncertain politically and economically that we have experienced in a decade. In this context I am very proud that we have grown significantly and are exceeding our three-year plan goals.”

Gold added that the firm has begun to deliver against its strategy, named ‘the 10 Year Vision’, which was launched at the beginning of 2016. He said the firm has invested heavily in technology and cyber security.

Meanwhile, Bird & Bird, which reports its financial results in euros, has posted revenue of €361m, up 5% from last year’s total of €343.8m.

Using HMRC’s average exchange rate for the year to 31 March 2017, the euro figure converts to £298.9m – an increase of 19% on last year’s equivalent sterling result of £251.3m.

The firm declined to provide firmwide profit or PEP numbers for 2016-17.

Bird & Bird chief executive David Kerr (pictured top) told Legal Week: “We have seen widespread growth across practice groups and countries, which is pleasing given the general market uncertainties there were during the year. We are very focused on the changes clients are going through with technology – all industries are going through radical digital transformations.

“We’re very keen to continue building up in new countries with genuine client need. We’ve got a great footprint in Europe and coverage in Asia-Pacific, and we’re looking at other regions including South America and north Africa.”

Earlier this year, the firm launched an international tax disputes practice based in the UK, with the appointment of a five-lawyer team from PwC Legal. PwC partner Andy Brown joined Bird & Bird’s London office alongside four other lawyers including PwC solicitor Julian Balson, who joined as a partner.

The firm further boosted its European capabilities with the hire of Frankfurt employment partner Barbara Geck from King & Wood Mallesons in January.

Bird & Bird moved into new offices at 12 New Fetter Lane last year. Its limited liability partnership accounts for the 2015-16 financial year revealed the firm spent more than €17m (£14m) on the new base.

This year, the firm made up almost twice as many new partners as last year, with 16 making the grade, including six in London.

Claire Rowe ShoosmithsElsewhere, Shoosmiths has posted a 9% hike in turnover to £116.7m for the last financial year, with the increase coming against a 17% rise in net profit.

Net profit climbed from £25.1m to £29.4m, with almost £15m of this available to full equity partners, equating to a profit per equity partner (PEP) figure of £366,000.

Despite the double-digit hike in net profit, average PEP for full equity partners is only marginally up on the 2015-16 figure of £365,000.

The firm said it had 40.5 full equity partners for the year, with the remaining profit divided between its fixed share partners, the number of which increased from 94 to 108.

Chief executive Claire Rowe (pictured) said: “This year we have more full equity partners and the average PEP is £366,000. To have maintained that PEP, notwithstanding the investment we have made, is a pretty solid performance.

“Our growth has been organically driven – that’s not to say we wouldn’t look at a merger, but one has to be careful in bringing together two businesses that you get the cultural fit right. A merger is not something we are actively looking at, but it is not something we have ruled out,” Rowe said.

The weakness of sterling did have an impact on the firm’s results this year although, as a UK-only firm, Shoosmiths was only minimally affected by currency swings.

“We are a UK business – we trade in sterling and we report in sterling. The weaker pound has led to inward investment, and that may have had an effect, but I don’t think that the driver to our results was currency fluctuations,” Rowe said.

Last year Shoosmiths’ revenue increased 4% to £107m, with net profit growing by the same percentage to £25.1m.

Shoosmiths entered Northern Ireland in late 2016 via a merger with McManus Kearney, which has two partners and 14 other staff.

The firm opened in Leeds in December 2016 with the hire of two partners from Gordons.