West country firm Foot Anstey has reported a 24% hike in net profit to £4.2m for the latest financial year, on income which climbed 14% to £27.5m.

Profit per equity partner at the 49-partner firm surged 18% to £264,000, from £224,000, reversing a period of negative PEP growth to 2013.

Bottom of equity jumped from £125,000 to £240,000, while top of equity rose from £255,000 to £295,000.

Managing partner John Westwell attributed the PEP increase to sustained investment and astute planning during the downturn.

One quarter of the firm’s revenue comes from corporate, and roughly a third each from property, and litigation and personal injury combined.

Foot Anstey is launching its own training academy this year for school-leavers.

Foot Anstey published this year’s income figure, but not profit numbers, in May. Speaking then, Westwell said: “These are strong results for Foot Anstey which sit on the “hard yards” of organic growth rather than a merger strategy. Our focus has been on a £9m investment in high quality lawyers, over the last five years, to ensure our client base is served only by the top specialists. A recession is an ideal time to invest strategically in readiness for hitting the upturn running. The combination of the upturn and our investment is resulting in a step change in our business.’

The firm opened its Bristol office nearly three years ago with three people and has recruited eighty people since then, taking turnover there to £3.6m. ‘This is an investment which has returned a profit ahead of forecast,’ Westwell said.