Brodies ‘busier than ever’ with rise in turnover

Legal firm Brodies said its lawyers have been “busier than ever” despite the tough economic backdrop and upheaval elsewhere in the profession as it reported double-digit growth in revenues.

Bill Drummond, managing partner of law firm Brodies. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

The Edinburgh-based firm, which has offices in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Brussels, said the successful completion of the first year of its 2014-17 strategic plan had led to an 11.2 per cent increase in turnover to just over £57.9 million.

It continued to develop client services across its Scottish offices, increasing costs by almost 9 per cent to £30.9m and leading to a 14.2 per cent jump in profits before partner distributions to £27.1m.

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The accounts for the 12 months to 30 April also reveal that cash balances increased by 52.6 per cent to £14.9m. The firm said that 2014-15 marked the fifth consecutive year of revenue and profit growth for the business, which has also seen its headcount rise above 600 for the first time.

Over the past decade, its “investment-led organic growth strategy” has delivered a compound annual growth rate of 12 per cent.

Scotland’s commercial legal sector has gone through a period of consolidation in recent years, including tie-ups between domestic players and cross-border mergers involving UK and global law firms. It has also claimed a high-profile casualty with the collape into administration last October of the 158-year-old Edinburgh practice Tods Murray.

Some industry insiders and observers have predicted further changes, though Brodies has stressed its strengths and ­independence within the Scottish marketplace.

Unveiling the latest set of figures, long-serving managing partner Bill Drummond said: “The past financial year saw gradual improvement in the Scottish and wider UK economy, the historic referendum on the question of Scottish independence and continued change in the Scottish legal market, with the disappearance of yet more well-known independent firms.

“Against this backdrop, Brodies ­focused on delivering and investing in client services and engaging with individuals, business and organisations across the UK on the legal aspects of potential constitutional change.

“A strong balance sheet coupled with being owned, headquartered and run in Scotland enables us to seize opportunities for the benefit of clients quickly and efficiently as they arise, whether investing in technology, new premises, new services, developing our people or hiring leading lawyers.”

Drummond added: “We remain focused on our strategy of delivering on client needs in all sectors that are central to the sustained future success of the Scottish economy.”

The firm said its investment activity included opening a new purpose-built office in Aberdeen to accommodate a growing team, currently numbering about 70, hiring lawyers “regarded as leaders in their fields” and internal promotions to bolster key services.

During 2014-15, the total number of staff at Brodies grew by 7 per cent to 603. The number of partners rose from 80 to 82 and the number of other lawyers and professional advisers from 268 to 293.

Drummond added: “Improved economic stability led many clients to invest in their businesses and ventures and re-visit their personal affairs, and as a result our lawyers have been busier than ever.”