Stephenson Harwood continued its upward trajectory in 2010-11, with turnover rising by 16 per cent to break the £100m barrier for the first time.
Turnover (£m): 107
Average PEP: 610
Equity spread (£k): 297-852
Profit margin (%): 30
RPL (£k): 355
This came a year after it broke the £90m milestone for the first time. Net profit was also up by a healthy proportion, rising by 15 per cent to reach £31.7m, although growth in average profit per equity partner was less impressive, with the figure rising by 9 per cent to £610,000.
The firm operates a merit-based remuneration system, with an elected panel of four equity partners having the final say on profit shares. All partners are appraised by their departmental heads plus one member of the panel in the June following the year-end, with chief executive Sharon White sitting in on discussions. Each partner is assessed on a range of criteria, including management tasks, profile-raising and pro bono, before being allocated between 40 and 120 equity points with the potential for a bonus. Figures are finalised by the end of July and profits are distributed quarterly during the 12 months after the end of the financial year.
Equity partners’ capital contributions vary according to their number of equity points, while fixed-share partners, who earned an estimated average of £190,000 in 2010-11, each contribute £10,000.
The firm’s main decision-making body has 16 members, including White, the six practice group heads and five office managing partners. The board also has four non-lawyer members in chief operating officer Clive Ruse, finance director Danny Cohen, business development director Philip Rubenstein and HR director Jeff Marlow.
There is also a partnership council, which deals with governance issues and acts as a non-executive board. It is chaired by senior partner Andrew Sutch and includes three other members who are elected for three-year terms with staggered start dates.