Burges Salmon sees partner profits fall 16.3% after 'challenging' 2016-17

Burges Salmon has posted a 16.3% profit per equity partner (PEP) drop for 2016-17, after what managing partner Peter Morris described as a “challenging” financial year.

The Bristol-based firm also saw a slight decline in revenue, from £87.4m to £87m, with PEP falling from £523,000 to £438,000.

The results come after a record year for the firm in 2015-16, when revenue increased 8.2% and PEP rose by 7.2%.

Morris (pictured) said: “We had a particularly strong year last year [2015-16], and this may sound odd, but we are broadly happy with what we have achieved this year. The issue is we did not achieve the revenue growth we planned for, and that fed through to bottom line.”

He blamed the firm’s flat revenue on a lack of business confidence stemming from the Brexit referendum.

“We undoubtedly experienced a Brexit slowdown – a pause before and after the referendum – but work levels picked up strongly in the fourth quarter of the year, and that has followed through to the current year.

“We are optimistic about the current financial year, but with a big caveat – that if there are any other significant political or economic events, things which are outside our control, then that could have an impact. Our expectation is that we will resume our growth and that PEP will be up again.”

Highlights for the firm in 2016-17 included winning a place on BT’s legal panel and a spot on tier 1 of the government’s £400m legal panel.

During the year, the firm also appointed employment partner Chris Seaton as senior partner, succeeding corporate partner Alan Barr, who had spent six years in the role. Seaton took up the post on 1 May.