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Herbert Smith Freehills: Partner profits slip by nearly 10% to £857,000

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Taylor Wessing also records drop

Herbert Smith Freehills has published its latest set of financial results, recording a 10% drop in partner profits.

The global player posted revenues of £989.9 million, up 2.5% on the previous financial year. Profit per equity partner (PEP), however, is down 9.7% to £857,000 from £949,000, as is profit — £283.2 million from £306.7 million, a cut of 7.7%.

“It is encouraging that we achieved another year of revenue growth, underlying the core strength of our business,” commented Justin D’Agostino, who took over as chief executive officer in May. “While profitability fell from last year, it reflects our second highest year of profitability performance.”

D’Agostino said revenue growth would have been stronger but for the onset of COVID-19, which saw the firm reduce partner profit distributions, suspend salary reviews and delay the start dates of its future trainee solicitors.

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D’Agostino continued:

“While the Covid crisis has required significant adjustments across the firm to how we work, I am delighted to say that our performance through the challenges it has brought has so far exceeded all our expectations.”

Elsewhere, international law firm Taylor Wessing revealed a 7.6% uplift in global revenues to £365.6 million. But PEP dropped 6.5% to £612,640, while UK profits fell by almost 8% to £57.6 million.

Shane Gleghorn, UK managing partner, said: “This year, we’ve invested significantly in our business. While the final quarter was made difficult by the crisis, we have seen the benefit of our investment in tech and people, even more so in recent months. Our tech investment has supported agile working for our people, and has deepened our client relationships.”

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