Baker & McKenzie is forecasting a bullish 2016 after currency fluctuations and the introduction of new technology hit profits last year.

The world’s biggest law firm by revenue today posted a 2% rise in global income to US$2.43bn (£1.55bn) for the year to 30 June, in what chairman Eduardo Leite described as a ‘flat market for global legal services’.

In dollar terms income dipped 4%, which the firm said reflected the exceptional appreciation of the US currency against other currencies over the period.

Profit per equity partner fell 3% on a like-for-like basis to $1.25m (£800,000), or $1.14m reported in dollars. Profitability was adversely affected by investment and a planned, one-off delay in billing and collection resulting from the conversion of the firm’s global technology platform to a single integrated system.

Leite (pictured) stressed that 2014/15 was a ‘successful and important year of investment’ in which productivity rose 5% to an all-time high and over 40% of 83 partner promotions were women.

He added: ‘During the past fiscal year we invested in opening offices in Brisbane and Jeddah, a new Global Services Center in Belfast and our unique Joint Operation in Shanghai, allowing us to practise both international and Chinese law.

‘We have also invested substantially in our future by implementing a single powerful new global financial and management information system, SAP, which will allow us to serve our clients better and more efficiently.

‘Our increased activity and investments will be reflected in a strong fiscal year 2016. It remains a flat global market for legal services, particularly outside the major financial centres, with increasing competition from non-traditional players. Our strategy is to build long-term strategic relationships to provide a full service with local expertise to our clients in all the key commercial centres globally.’

Over the last decade PEP has grown by over 50% at Baker & McKenzie and revenues by 80%.  The firm employs 12,000 worldwide. 

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