The first batch of top-ranking law firms to publish annual financial results for 2011/12 have reported average growth in profit per equity partner (PEP) of 8% (see table below). However, this figure masks wide variations in trading performance which have also been complicated by merger activity.

Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance became the first magic circle firms to report their results on Tuesday. At A&O, underlying pre-tax profit rose 7% to £486m on turnover up 6% to £1.18bn in the year ended 30 April. PEP was unchanged at £1.1m.

At CC, PEP climbed 7% to £1.1m on revenues also up 7% to £1.3bn. Total partnership profit rose 13% to £431m. Yesterday, Simmons & Simmons and Ashurst both reported higher profits, with PEP up 15% and 4% respectively.

Last week Field Fisher Waterhouse, by contrast, blamed the squeeze on public sector spending and investment in the firm’s German offices for a sharp fall in profits for the same period. PEP dipped £100,000 on 2010/11, from £510,000 to £410,000.

DAC Beachcroft announced billed revenues of £163.2m for 2011/12, the first results since the merger of Beachcroft and Davies Arnold Cooper last October. The figure represents Beachcroft revenue for the first half and merged firm numbers for November-April, which the firm said compares to the previous year’s £134m figure for Beachcroft.

The combined firm’s PEP is £321,000, compared with Beachcroft’s 2010/11 figure of £333,000. DAC Beachcroft managing partner Paul Murray said the results ‘demonstrate a good performance despite the distractions of integration’.

Annual results were expected from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters as the Gazette went to press. The Gazette’s results table, below, will be updated with additional commentary as firms publish.
Table of results

FirmPEP 2011/12PEP 2010/11% changeTurnover 2011/12Turnover 2010/11% change
Clifford Chance£1.1m£1m7£1.3bn£1.22bn7
Allen & Overy£1.1m£1.1m0£1.18bn£1.12bn6
Herbert Smith£840k£892k-6£480m£465m3
Simmons & Simmons£528k£460k14.8£251.7m£243m4
SJ Berwin£635k£626k2£180.1m£179m1
Addleshaw Goddard£450k£328k37£170m£161.9m5
DAC Beachcroft£321k£333k-4£163.2m£134m22
SNR Denton UK£350k£237k48£145m£152.5m-5
Osborne Clarke£406k£403k1£98.2m£90.3m8
Field Fisher Waterhouse£410k£510k-20£97.5m£94m4
Mishcon De Reya£700k£575k22£73.1m£61.5m20