An increase in operating profit at law firm Watson Burton LLP stands the firm in good stead for five years of growth, its chief executive has said.
The 113-strong firm, which operates Newcastle, London and Leeds offices, reported a slight rise in operating profit to £2.4m for the year ended April 30, 2014 - up from £2.1m in 2013.
Fee income dropped to £10.7m at the 200 year-old firm, down from £11.1m the year before.
The firm saw a further reduction in staff from 122 to 113 in the period, including a fall in the number of fee-earners from 52 to 48.
Gross profits for the year stood at £6.14m, up slightly from £6.13m in 2013.
The firm’s highest earning partner was set to receive £277,725 in the year, with 19 members sharing profits.
Patrick Harwood, chief executive of Watson Burton said: “Over the past five years we have focussed on creating a financially stable, progressive law firm that has the capabilities to compete effectively across both regional and national marketplaces.
“Thanks to the continuing support of our clients and the hard work of everyone at Watson Burton, our strategy has delivered a self-funding business that trades efficiently and generates solid cash results; these key features will enable us to implement our plans for future growth over the next 5 years.
“In particular, during 2013/14 we have recruited fresh new talent, whilst continuing to promote from within, and have notably strengthened our offering in the areas of Commercial, Technology, Commercial Litigation, Construction and Real Estate. I am pleased to say that our recruitment strategy continues apace alongside our drive for future growth.
“Our core objectives at this stage of the strategy were to develop a quality of turnover and strength within the balance sheet that will fundamentally support future growth. Whilst recent trading conditions have presented frustrations for most law firms, we have remained true to these objectives of quality and strength, resulting in a healthy increase in profit and a strong cash position.
“The market for legal services is without doubt a challenging environment, but by taking a commercial and farsighted approach to setting our strategy and developing the business around a corporate structure, we have significantly aligned our business with those of our clients, delivering results of which we can all be proud.”