THE region's largest law firm Dickinson Dees has seen an 18% rise in profits to £13m despite seeing fee income fall by 5%.
The Newcastle-based law firm with offices in Stockton, York and London saw revenues for the 2009-10 financial year fall to £48.8m.
Employing almost 700 staff, the firm provides legal services to corporate, commercial, public sector and private clients across the UK.
Some of its major clients include North East transport giant the Go-Ahead Group, national transport firm Govia, the London Borough of Croydon, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Barclays.
Dickinson Dees says it is taking a cautiously optimistic approach to the current year and expects revenues to be flat for the next 18 months or so.
Jonathan Blair, managing partner at Dickinson Dees, said: “This year’s financial results echo the immense hard work and commitment of the staff at Dickinson Dees in what has been a tough economic climate.
“Our results are in tune with the budget we had forecast for the year and we have worked hard to drive efficiency savings across the firm which is reflected in this year’s profit.
“We are taking a prudent approach to 2010/11 but following a number of client wins, we are cautiously optimistic about the firm’s performance over the coming year.”
Over the past 12 months Dickinson Dees has acted on deals worth in excess of £4bn and has won a range of new clients from right across the UK in all sectors – public, corporate, property and private client.
Its deals have included acting for Tyne and Wear transport operator Nexus on a £230m deal to secure the future operation of the Metro.
It also acted for Govia on its successful £375m bid for the new South Central rail franchise.
The firm has been appointed to a number of legal panels over the past year including London Borough Legal Alliance, London Borough Consortium, Tyne and Wear Legal Framework and North West Legal Framework.
Dickinson Dees’ education practice has been further bolstered with its shortlisting for Legal Adviser of the Year at the Education Investor Awards due to take place in November.
Blair added: “The number of client wins the firm has achieved, and the geographical location of these, is symptomatic of our continued growth and development and we will be working hard over the next year to continue this trend.”
In 2009 the firm axed 90 jobs including 15 of its fee-earning solicitors.
Dickinson Dees was not unique in this respect with most commercial law firms in the region cutting jobs.
In November 2008 Dickinson Dees sold its d3 Legal division to Bradford-based Optima Legal, just a few months after it had made 57 redundancies in d3.