Yes, it’s the time of year when legal aid solicitors shed a tear for colleagues at the City firms as they announce their annual results.
In general the form with these announcements is that the worse the results, the less assistance the press is given to report them. So hats off to Clifford Chance for gamely inviting the press to a conference call to hear managing partner David Childs call a 9% drop in profit per equity partner ‘disappointing’.
However one firm still holds fast to the tradition of minimal information: Slaughter and May ‘the only law firm to have been involved in almost every aspect of the UK financial crisis’ (their words, not ours).
By one estimate profits per equity partner were just shy of $3m last year, but reading the runes is tricky. However, some in the City believe that Slaughters is trying its best to tell us. Or the following could be an urban myth.
In its reception area is a rather impressive feature - water cascades down metre after metre of Chinese slate into a pool embedded with 450m-year-old sea green kirkstone. Speculation is that when the ebb of deals that drive such impressive profits slows, the flow of water is turned down and the soft splash ceases.
This is not, of course, scientific - but the fact that visitors to reception get through 76,000 Jelly Babies a year makes Obiter suspect an awful lot of you are wandering in see what the water feature has to reveal.