Stockmarket-listed ‘challenger’ law firm Keystone today hailed an ‘extremely successful’ trading year as it posted bullish annual results.

The sector’s ‘war for talent’ has subsided, said the remote working firm, which helped boost underlying pre-tax profit to £11.3m in the year to 31 January, a 23% rise on 2023 (£9.2m). Revenue climbed 15% to £87.9m.

Pre-tax profit rose to £10.3m from £8.3m the previous year.

James Knight

James Knight

CEO, Keystone Law

The business declared a final dividend of 12.5p per share, bringing the total dividend for the year to 18.3p.

CEO James Knight said: ‘It has been another extremely successful year and it has been very gratifying to see a return to recruitment levels last experienced pre-pandemic. The strength of our operational and financial performance across 2024 has enabled the Group to maintain its longstanding progressive dividend policy, returning over £30m to shareholders since listing on AIM in 2017. We enter the new financial year confident in the ability of the business to continue to deliver high quality earnings and sustainable growth.’

Keystone said the group experienced sustained client demand across practice areas in 2023-24. The group received more job applicants than in 2023 and 51 new principals joined, most from top-100 law firms, which increased the total number of principals to 432 (2023 398). Total fee-earners increased to 549 from 507.

Shares in Keystone Law Group plc were trading at 630p this morning, down 4% on the day but well up on six months ago (490p).