27 Jul 2021

Macfarlanes PEP soars to £2m against 10% revenue increase

The City firm lays claim to the highest profit per equity partner figure posted so far this reporting season

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Macfarlanes has notched a 9.2% jump in profit per equity partner (PEP) to £2m, the highest such figure to be reported so far in this year’s batch of UK law firm financial results. 

The City heavyweight’s eye-catching PEP spike builds on last year’s 10% increase to £1.91m for the financial year ending April 30, placing it well in front of other big law firms that have already reported their results. The closest contender so far is Allen & Overy, which last week said its PEP had climbed 5% to hit £1.9m. 

Clifford Chance and Ashurst were among the other firms to post lucrative PEP figures, recording  a rise of 9% and 15% to reach £1.85m and just over £1m, respectively. 

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Macfarlanes’ revenue climbed 10% to £260m this year, making it one of the many firms to post double-digit growth despite the challenging business environment caused by the pandemic. The firm’s growth was not deterred by the pandemic-impacted months for the 2019/20 financial year, either, when it celebrated its 10th consecutive year of growth with a 9.5% revenue increase to £237m. Its operating profits, meanwhile, jumped 12% to hit £141m. 

Senior partner Sebastian Prichard Jones told Legal Business the firm was “fortunate that activity levels remained strong” across its three main areas of business, namely its transactional, disputes and advisory groups. 

The London-based firm currently boasts 89 partners, 252 assistant solicitors and 96 other fee earners across its City and Brussels bases. Earlier this month the firm said it would be retaining 22 of the 25 trainees qualifying in September, giving it an 88% autumn retention rate. 

Macfarlanes has also upped base salaries for newly qualified solicitors and trainees, with NQs now being paid £90,000 plus an uncapped firmwide bonus – this year paid at almost 10% – on top of individual bonuses, as reported in The Law Society Gazette

In April, the firm announced it was elevating five lawyers to its partnership, a move Prichard Jones said demonstrates its “desire to invest for the long-term, notwithstanding the pandemic”. 

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