Freshfields accounts show pay increase for management team as staff costs rose 10%

Key management figures at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer took home £19.1m between them in 2016-17, according to the firm’s latest limited liability partnership (LLP) accounts.

The accounts state that the group’s combined remuneration rose from £18.1m the previous year.

The management team comprises senior partner Edward Braham, managing partner Stephan Eilers and former co-managing partner Chris Pugh (who resigned in August 2017), alongside the heads of the firm’s global practice groups.

It is unclear from the accounts whether the number of people in the management team stayed the same year on year.

The Companies House filings also show that staff costs increased 10% from £584.5m to £642.5m, as staff numbers fell 2% from 4,622 to 4,543.

Fee earners fell by 4% to 2,420 as secretarial and support staff numbers increased slightly from 2,111 to 2,123.

The average number of equity partner numbers fell 7% from 324 to 301.

Meanwhile, operating profit grew by 6% from £392.3m to £416.7m while turnover rose 3% from £1.29bn to £1.33bn.

Other magic circle firms to have filed their LLP accounts for 2016-17 include Allen & Overy (A&O) and Clifford Chance (CC). A&O’s accounts show its management team took home a combined £15.8m during the last financial year, a 16% increase on the previous year.

Meanwhile, CC’s top management team took home £16m during 2016-17, £1m up on the previous year’s figure of £15m.

However, the increase came on the back of the group growing from 12 to 13 members with the addition of London managing partner David Bickerton, meaning average pay for the group has fallen from £1.25m to £1.23m.