One of the country’s biggest specialist medical negligence firms says a £2.2m fall in profits was due to the cost of preparing for growth in the future.

Fletchers Solicitors, based in Southport, posted £1m profit before tax for the 2014/15 financial year, compared with £3.2m in 2013/14.

The firm said the figures were expected during a period of ‘re-investment’ into the business as it aims to become a top-100 firm by 2018.

Fletchers says this year’s £12m turnover (up from £11m in 2014) is expected to rise to £20m by 2018 when a large number of medical negligence cases reach settlement.

Chief executive Ed Fletcher (pictured) said the firm aims to see ‘significant’ increases in turnover and profit in the coming years.

‘We are striving to achieve top-100 law firm status by 2018, and in order to do so we are currently re-investing heavily into the business to ensure we reach our goal in the right way.

‘We want to grow, but retain everything that Fletchers stands for, and that requires significant investment.’

Headcount at the firm has grown from 210 last year to almost 300 now, with two non-executive directors brought in following the change to alternative business structure status.

The office space used has also expanded by around 50%.

Over the past year, Fletchers has started the Patient Claim Line and created the Medical Law Network, a panel offering other firms a way to bring their services to market.

The Patient Claim Line has been backed with increased spending on advertising, and is the sponsor of ITV daytime courtroom show Judge Rinder.