Relatively few firms post results on their websites - despite decent numbers

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It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good; a conclusion that might be drawn from early financial results posted by the top-ranking cohort of UK law firms. Notwithstanding a flatlining economy, the early filers for 2011/12 are generally reporting decent numbers. Average profit per equity partner in the top 100 is up 6% so far and turnover is also 6% higher (see the Gazette’s live Profit Tracker).

After the pain comes the gain - though the halcyon days of the pre-crash peak remain distant for some. It’s a mixed picture. The magic circle’s top-line numbers are, on the face of it, (comparatively) modest; but in the context of global mergers and acquisitions activity which hit its lowest level in over seven years, they don’t seem too bad at all.

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The law firm reporting season is a curious cat-and-mouse game for the media, with some firms choosing to report only revenue figures (at least initially). These bald numbers don’t tell you much. Then there is the bland and cliched managing partner’s statement, which is too often a meaningless amalgam of boilerplate and windy aspiration.

It raises a wry smile too that relatively few firms post their results on their websites. Why so coy? But then perhaps it is naive to expect more. We are talking about owner-managed businesses, after all. Nobody’s business but theirs?

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