A year of internal investment did not prevent Irwin Mitchell’s turnover from increasing last year, with the figure rising by 9.4 per cent, from £157m to £171.8m.
Turnover (£m): 171.8
Average PEP: 511
Equity spread (£k):150-650
Profit margin (%): 18
RPL (£k): 343
It did, however, have an impact on average profit per equity partner, which fell by
5.3 per cent, from £540,000 to £511,000. Yet the equity partner headcount grew by 13.5 per cent, from 52 to 59. The firm added a further 21 partners and 64 lawyers to the ranks over the past year.
The pivotal change for Irwin Mitchell came midway through 2010-11 (September), when it stunned the City by launching an audacious raid on SJ Berwin, hiring a four-partner real estate team headed by Jon Vivian. The strategic move was intended to send a message that the firm is on the acquisition trail in an effort to help balance its portfolio, which is dominated by litigation and spans volume work to test case matters. Approximately £146m of Irwin Mitchell’s turnover, or 85 per cent, was generated by the firm’s contentious groups.
For Irwin Mitchell the real story is about its preparations for the implementation of the Legal Services Act (LSA). The firm works on a merit-based remuneration structure, but new arrangements are expected to be introduced when the LSA comes into force. One option could be for equity partners to swap points for shares in the firm. Irwin Mitchell restructured to create a corporate entity holding company, which will become the firm’s overarching parent group.
Within Irwin Mitchell three divisions have been created: partner Andrew Tucker heads personal legal services; Niall Baker heads business legal services; and Joe Simpson is chief executive of the strategic client relationship division.
There have also been developments for the firm’s overseas network, with the acquisition of Madrid firm L&E Solución Legal and Empresarial in September.