Staff bonuses shot up 21.6% at magic circle firm Allen & Overy in the last financial year, accounts have revealed.

Financial results for the year to 30 April 2015, show the group paid a total of £38m in bonuses, with overall staff costs increasing by 2% to £433m.

Profit for the financial year available for division among the 527 partners went up from £374.1m in 2014 to £401.4m.

Profit distribution ranged from £712,000 for a partner with 20 profit-sharing points to £1.78m for a partner with 50 profit-sharing points. Most partners receive 20 points on their promotion, rising by two points every year to a maximum of 50 – known as a ‘lock step’ system.

The highest paid partner received £2.885m in 2015, a jump from around £2.1m in 2014.

The accounts explained the total profit payable to any partner in a particular year can be substantially above that of a partner with 50 profit-sharing points because of compensation costs such as tax equalisation and expatriate benefits payable to partners seconded to jurisdictions outside their home office, or because of joining or retirement payments.

Staff numbers decreased slightly during the year, from 4,439 to 4,422, with the drop accounted for by a small fall in the number of lawyers.

The year overall saw increases in both profit and turnover figures.

Income rose 3.8% to £1.28bn during the year – the increase eclipsing the 1.8% rise recorded in the previous year.

Profit went up 7% in 2014/15 to £570m, with average profit per full partner increasing 8% to £1.21m.