Magic circle firm Allen & Overy saved almost £15m last year through outsourcing and staff cuts, published accounts have revealed.

The firm's highest-paid members received £1.67m. 

The international firm reduced personnel numbers in 2013/14 from 4,628 to 4,439 and cut costs by outsourcing back-office work to Belfast.

The Northern Ireland office opened in July 2011 and last year pledged to recruit up to 100 people over the coming five years.

Accounts filed today with Companies House show that staff costs fell despite staff bonuses across the group increasing by 9.6% to £31m in 2013/14.

Profit before tax for the year ending 30 April 2014 was £532m – an increase of 7% year on year. Average profit per full partner increased 6.7% to £1.12m.

Turnover grew 1.6% to £1.2bn. 

Profit distribution ranges from £669,000 for a partner with 20 profit-sharing points to £1.67m for a partner with the maximum of 50 profit-sharing points. 

‘Our banking and litigation business grew strongly but the volatile market provided a challenge to our capital markets and corporate businesses,’ the firm stated.

‘We continue to see intense competition, pricing challenges and pressure from clients to reduce total legal spend.’

The accounts reflect the increasingly international nature of the London-headquartered firm.

By April 2014, Allen & Overy had 526 partners in total of which 347 (66%) were based outside the UK capital.

Ten years ago this proportion was 55%. The firm now has 45 offices around the world, having opened in Barcelona and Toronto in the past year.

In 2012/13, profits at the firm rose 2.2% to £496.7m on turnover little changed on 2011/12.