Osborne Clarke posts double digit fall in UK PEP as firm-wide revenue grows 9% to €442m

UK independent points to ‘targeted investments’ as tougher trading conditions and inflation dent UK PEP

Conrad Davies Image courtesy of Osborne Clarke

Osborne Clarke has reported a mixed set of financial results for 2022/23, with firm-wide revenue rising 9% from the previous financial year to hit €442m but UK profit per equity partner (PEP) dropping 13.7% to £687k.  

The firm’s UK income increased by 9%, from £199.1m to £217.3m, while UK net profit dipped slightly from £77.2m to £74.7m and cash resources fell to £25.7m, having risen 12% the year before to hit £45.8m. 

The results contrast with 2021/22, when the firm reported a strong set of results including a 19% jump in firmwide revenue and an 11% rise in UK PEP. 

Omar Al-Nuaimi, Osborne Clarke’s International CEO, commented: “Our teams have pulled together once again this year in an often turbulent market to deliver great results for our international clients and business. We’re on track to hit €500m turnover by 2025, while delivering on a number of key investment programmes to help us reach our target.”

Coming at the start of the UK financial reporting season, Osborne Clarke’s results are likely to set the tone for a more mixed set of results among the top 50 UK firms given the downturn in global deal markets and generally tougher economic conditions. 

Conrad Davies, Osborne Clarke’s UK managing partner, commented: “We’ve had another set of strong results in what has been a challenging economic market, which is a credit to the outstanding efforts and dedication of our teams across the UK.  

“While we increased our income, our net profit and PEP are down due to the tougher trading conditions, inflation and the significant but necessary investments we’ve made in our people and our business. We stand behind these targeted investments we’ve made to grow our headcount, increase the reward we pay our people and accelerate the roll out of various key change programmes across our legal operations. These investments will help us to attract and retain talent, strengthen our client offering and future-proof the performance of our business.”

The firm said its UK sector teams performed well with double-digit growth across five of its seven key sectors: energy and utilities; retail and consumer; financial services; life sciences; and mobility and infrastructure. Technology, media and comms, and the built environment sectors were broadly flat against strong 2021/22 results.

All of its practice groups, meanwhile, grew over the last 12 months with disputes and risk seeing an increase of 24% and advisory 14%, while the firm’s business transactions group and projects, real estate and finance group both had 3% growth. 

Off the back of the results, Osborne Clarke is giving its UK-based employees a 4% profit share based on annual salaries that will be paid this month, a slight dip from the 5% it doled out last year. The minimum payment this year will be £2,000, down from £2,500 last year.

The firm said it had increased investment in recruitment over the past 12 months, making 13 partner-level hires in the UK across practice areas including life sciences patent litigation, technology disputes and corporate energy. The firm also added three pensions partners, with David Hosford and Chris Netiatis joining from BDB Pitmans and Carol Dick moving over from PwC, while Tom Lewis joined from PwC last November to lead its corporate structuring and simplification team. 

The firm has also bolstered its partner ranks internationally, including hiring Pietro Scianna and Nunzia Melaccio in Milan from local firms to lead its Italian employment and labour and banking and finance regulation teams respectively. Roderick Nieuwmeyer joined in Brussels as head of EU law from CMS Netherlands and the firm also added partners to the Warsaw office it launched last year, with Marcin Robenek and Michał Markowski joining as head of dispute resolution and banking and finance respectively. 

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