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Law firm 'resilient'

Partner profit dips as Covid hits Addleshaw Goddard

John Joyce and Malcolm McPherson

John Joyce, left, pictured with Malcolm McPherson who remains a consultant

Law firm Addleshaw Goddard’s profit per equity partner fell last year as revenue growth slowed.

PEP for 2019/20 was down 5% to £690,000 from £727,000 in the previous year when the figure jumped by 12%.

Global revenue rose 4% to £288m, against 14% growth in the previous 12 months.

John Joyce, managing partner, said the final two months of the year saw an adverse impact across all offices as a result of COVID-19.

“The firm’s systems and controls are performing well and we have continued to effectively service clients; there was undoubtedly a negative effect on transactional activity which will have impacted both income and profit in the final quarter.”

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More positively, he said: “Our business responded very well to a very unpredictable period for our clients with the ongoing Brexit saga, then an election and in the second half of the year the impact of coronavirus, first in Asia and then more widely.

“After a strong first half we adapted quickly to the pandemic and to close-out the year in-line with plan is testament to the quality and diversification of the firm’s client base and the resilience of our people and the infrastructure built in recent years.” 

Looking ahead, he said: “The only certainty this year is that it will be even more uncertain than the last but we have made a solid start and some teams remain very busy whilst others have seen their markets badly impacted and arguably have a more negative outlook.

David Kirchin

David Kirchin: ‘developing new strengths’

“We very much retain an appetite to grow and retaining profit from last year, as we did the prior year, alongside the overall strength of our balance sheet leaves us well placed to weather uncertainty and continue to invest and recruit where the right opportunity presents itself.”

The practice sustained double digit growth in each of commercial, competition, infrastructure, projects, energy and disputes.

More than 80% of revenue generated through a focus on six core sectors: Energy & Utilities, Financial Services, Health, Real Estate, Retail & Consumer and Transport.

The Scotland team advised on deals including German fund KanAm’s acquisition of the Aberdeen Standard HQ offices and retail development at 4/8 St Andrew Square, and for SSE in the transfer of a UK wide portfolio of 70 office and operational properties as part of the transfer of its retail business to OVO Energy.

David Kirchin, head of the Scotland team, said: “Working with a wider range of clients, as part of a larger international firm, has helped us grow our business in Scotland.

“We have continued to invest in our teams, developing new strengths in existing teams, and building new areas of focus including energy, fintech, and transport as well as financial regulation and major projects.

“In the year, we were pleased to support our clients make significant changes and developments for their businesses including acting as lead counsel to Barclays, HSBC and RBS on the multi-bank refinancing of A.G. Barr plc – one of the largest corporate refinancings to take place in Scotland in 2019.

“While the trading environment remains challenging, and we are not immune to those challenges, we face them head on from a position of strength with a continued focus on the development of our business and teams in Scotland.”



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