Barlow Lyde & Gilbert (BLG) has just experienced the most transformative year in its history.
Turnover (£m): 95.5
Average PEP: 373
Equity spread (£k): 250-500
Profit margin (%): 26
RPL (£k): 273
Under the relatively new leadership of CEO David Jabbari and senior partner Simon Konsta, the firm ramped up profitability after offloading several senior equity partners and redirecting the practice into the volume markets. This meant the partnership headcount has fluctuated over the past year, and while it grew from 85 to 98 the demographic of the partnership has altered dramatically. This began in July when the firm acquired Halliwells’ Manchester office, bringing in 19 partners.
The acquisition gave BLG a volume practice and sent a signal that plans introduced by the previous management, to broaden the base beyond insurance, were now binned. The new plan was to get back to the original strategy of focusing on being a legal services provider to the insurance industry.
This was not well-received by all in the firm. Over the past year several department heads quit, including financial services chief Tim Strong, who joined Taylor Wessing along with commercial disputes head Julian Randall and partner Andrew Howell. Head
of the non-contentious group Mike Munro went to CMS Cameron McKenna with partner James Parker.
The departure of so many lawyers and partners had a positive impact on BLG’s figures, which have lurched upwards following a few turbulent years. At the end of the financial year turnover stood at £95.5m, up by 17.2 per cent on the previous year’s £81.5m. This compares with an 6.2 per cent fall in 2009-10, when it went from £86.9m to £81.5m.
Average profit per equity partner (PEP) also moved upwards, with fewer equity partners claiming their share. At the latest
year end 67 equity partners took home an average share of £373,000, compared with 76 equity partners with a PEP of £350,000 at the 2009-10 year end. Net profit has retracted, however, down by 7.4 per cent, from £27m to £25m.
But if last year was transformative, this one should be revolutionary. The firm’s merger with former rival Clyde & Co is
set to give legacy BLG a ranking in the UK 200 top 10 – a decent enough way to sign off.