Penningtons Manches Cooper has announced its 2020-21 financial results. The firm’s revenue has risen to £97 million, an increase of 4% with overall profits of £31 million, an increase of 11%. Net profit rose to £15.7 million, while average profit per full equity partner climbed to 12% to £394,000.
CEO David Raine said: “We’re very pleased with the solid progress that we have continued to make over the last 12 months, with teams outperforming expectations against the backdrop of the global pandemic. This builds on the previous year where we saw a very strong uplift in turnover, in part due to the merger with Thomas Cooper in July 2019, and marks 12 consecutive years of growth. Thanks to the incredible hard work and commitment of our people, and a robust and practical long term strategy we are in a good position for the year ahead.”
Over the last year the firm has made a number of investments, a key strand of which has been the substantial work undertaken to reconfigure and enhance the working spaces across both the UK and international offices, in line with a new hybrid working policy, which officially launches in September. From the Autumn, the guidance around an official return to the office sets out the option of a 50:50 split of home and office-working, with individual teams having freedom to flex this to suit their circumstances. The role of offices as hubs for focused collaboration will become more important. The firm has already invested extensively in technology to enable agile working prior to the onset of the pandemic and has continued to make upgrades and modifications to support the new working environment.
Penningtons Manches Cooper has also made several lateral hires over the last 12 months, including in its overseas offices: corporate partners Nick Dingemans and José Millán Martín joined the Singapore and Madrid offices respectively, reflecting the firm’s post-merger strategy to add breadth and depth to its international footprint. At the same time, in line with its domestic growth strategy, three partners were appointed to the firm’s Birmingham office, which it had established in 2019, and a further partner joined the commercial disputes practice.
Further important appointments came in the form of the firm’s first COO, Jonathan King, and the promotion of senior knowledge lawyer, Tarnya Mason, to partner and head of knowledge - a critical role in the newly created Best Practice group. The group brings together the firm’s knowledge and risk teams to maximise complementary skills and provide a cohesive approach to continually developing business needs. Earlier in the year, Clare Arthurs who had led the knowledge function for the commercial dispute resolution team, took over the running of the department. In an unusual opportunity for a knowledge lawyer, the role combines her leadership skills and in-depth knowledge of litigation law and practice with a core focus of maximising legal tech. Furthermore, the firm’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact has been given a formal board-level designation, with technology director James Rushton’s role being expanded to include sustainability.
As the pandemic unfolded and it became clear that lockdown restrictions and the guidance to work from home would be in place for a significant period, the firm’s wellbeing team considerably increased the support and resources available to colleagues who might be experiencing difficulties. Alongside practical measures to help manage the ongoing uncertainty and, for many, the challenge of juggling working from home with caring responsibilities, the award-winning ‘Penwell’ programme has gone from strength to strength. Its awareness raising activities, particularly around mental health, are now part of the fabric of firm life and will continue to receive dedicated time and resources going forwards.
Lastly, a major firmwide project to map and codify the firm’s culture, values and purpose was carried out over several months is leading into a number of follow on initiatives centred around brand, employee engagement and business development more widely.
David Raine concluded: “Over the last 17 months we’ve faced many challenges as individuals, but collectively we’ve learned just what an exceptionally good team we have. The pandemic has served to highlight how traits inherent in our culture such as resilience, trust and care truly do underpin everything we do and help ensure we give our best to our clients, our communities, and of course, to each other. I’m incredibly proud of the talent, hard work and commitment on display every day, and confident about our combined direction of travel over the next 12 months.”