Top 50 law firm Penningtons Manches Cooper has announced its 2019-20 financial results. The firm’s revenue has risen to £93 million, an increase of 17%, with overall profits of £28 million, an increase of 12%.
The figures represent both organic growth and the uplift resulting from the merger between Penningtons Manches and Thomas Cooper last summer, three months into the firm’s financial year.
CEO David Raine said: “We’re extremely happy with our performance: it is more than just the sum of two parts. Thanks to the ongoing hard work and commitment of teams across the board we’ve successfully grown our baseline income and made the most of the synergies offered by the merger.”
The firm has seen substantial revenue growth across its main business areas. The real estate practice experienced an increase of 17% year in on year, with particularly strong performances from the construction and real estate litigation teams. The division focused on private individuals, – encompassing the thriving private wealth group – grew by 11% with impressive contributions from the highly successful family and private client teams.
Taking into account the new marine and international trade offerings resulting from the merger, the business services division, which includes the corporate, commercial, employment and litigation practices, grew by 20%. Instructions to the employment team saw a significant uplift in both volume and value terms.
David explained: “For a number of years our direction of travel has been towards contentious work and we’ve now reached the point where it makes up more than fifty per cent of our fee income. We expect that proportion will continue to increase - not only from our increasingly sought after commercial dispute resolution and arbitration practices but also from our incredibly busy family, employment, clinical negligence and contentious trust teams.”
The beginning of the firm’s current financial year coincided with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Commenting on its immediate impact and the potential longer term effects, David said:
“Like every firm, we’ve had to revisit and revise our plans and proceed with a great deal more caution and prudence than anticipated. So far, we have performed better than expected but, clearly, complacency isn’t an option in the current environment. There are still many unknowns and all decisions require an element of crystal ball gazing.’’
The central rationale for last year’s merger – to boost the breadth and depth of capabilities in international arbitration and litigation and international trade – will be of significant importance in helping the business manage the impact of the economic downturn. He added:
“In a recession we would naturally expect to see a decrease in revenue in certain teams. Our decision to broaden the base of our business and add weight in practice areas that traditionally see an uplift in uncertain times will hopefully prove to have been wise as we enter what will be a very stormy period for many firms. In addition, joining forces with Thomas Cooper has increased our international footprint and provides an ease of access to new markets that we didn’t have a year ago.”
Over the last few years, the firm has also made a considerable investment in technology to support agile working, which paid a huge dividend as the crisis unfolded. “The move from office to remote working – which happened more or less overnight – was as painless as we could have expected. I’m incredibly proud of how everyone has adapted, come together as a real team and supported each other and our clients in these extraordinary times. There may be some very choppy waters ahead but the business is in a good shape to navigate them. I want to thank each and every one of our partners and staff for their fantastic efforts so far – their continued dedication will be crucial as we move forward.”