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Latest financials reveal mixed fortunes for City firms

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Pinsent Masons, Simmons & Simmons, Clyde & Co, RPC and HFW among those to post 2020 results

A host of top law firms have published their 2019/20 financial results as the City continues to assess the damage caused by the pandemic.

Pinsent Masons posted a 12% drop in its profit per equity partner (PEP) to £546,000, while revenue hit £495.9 million — a modest uptick of 4% on last year’s £482 million result. Gross profit also fell slightly by 1.3%, according to the latest financial results published by the firm.

“You do see a decline in PEP where basically you’re investing in the business for the longer term, and this has been a year of inward investment,” Pinsents’ managing partner John Cleland said. “I would see it as being a bit of a transitory period in which investment in the business has been a core focus.”

Simmons & Simmons, meanwhile, recorded a 7% uplift in PEP to £756,000, while revenue rose by 4% to £390 million. Net profit increased to £126 million, a lift of 6%.

Simmons managing partner Jeremy Hoyland commented: “We have seen another year of growth and our financial and market performance continues to be strong. All our regions have achieved good increases in both profit and revenue as we continue to invest in the future of the firm, with continental Europe and Asia having particularly pleasing years. These results give us a strong foundation to weather the crisis and will help us navigate through the difficult times that no doubt lie ahead.”

Clyde & Co saw profit slump 5% to £143 million for the financial year ending April, while PEP also fell — 4% from £690,000 to £665,000. Revenue increased slightly (3%) to reach £627 million.

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Clydes’ senior partner Peter Hirst said he was pleased with the “solid” revenue growth achieved by the firm this financial year, revealing the new leadership team had “focused primarily on consolidation, investment and integration after many years of rapid growth and acquisition”.

He continued: “Even before COVID-19, we had been operating in an increasingly competitive market for legal services and faced significant economic and political headwinds, which is why our ability to post sustained levels of organic growth is especially pleasing and demonstrates the trust our clients continue to place in us around the world.”

Elsewhere, RPC revealed a slight boost in revenue (1.3%) to £110.1 million but a 2.2% drop in PEP — £424,383 from £433,340. Total profit shrank from £32.6 million to £31.7 million.

“We finished the financial year very much on the front foot, and revenue generation levels have remained high during lockdown,” RPC managing partner James Miller commented. “Looking ahead, we have started the new financial year as positively as we ended the last one and I remain very optimistic that the future — despite considerable economic and political uncertainties and the challenges faced from COVID-19 — will bring exciting new opportunities with existing clients as well as new.”

By contrast, HFW trumpeted a 11% rise in PEP to £526,000 and a 9% boost in revenues to £195.2 million. Net profit came in at £47.3 million. Richard Crump, the firm’s global senior partner, said: “We are very pleased to see our sector-focused strategy and sustained international expansion continue to drive growth across the business.”

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