THE highest paid partner at law firm Shepherd and Wedderburn saw their rewards increase from £349,000 to £541,000.

The figure is revealed in accounts filed at Companies House, which show the firm recorded a 2% dip in turn-over from £37.28 million to £36.57m in the 12 months to April 30, 2012.

Profit before members' remuneration and profit share declined 1% from £13.05m to £12.92m.

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However, the profit available for discretionary distribution among members rose from £6.3m to £6.8m. Average staff numbers went from 407 to 375 while employee costs decreased from £13.78m to £13.29m.

According to the accounts, average partner numbers went down from 62 to 55 while legal adviser numbers went from 181 to 164 with support staff also dipping from 164 to 156.

Shepherd and Wedderburn's net cash position increased from £3.3m to £3.43m in the year.

Stephen Gibb, who took over as chief executive from Patrick Andrews on May 1, 2012, said the firm's energy and natural resources practice saw income rise by 25% in the financial year due to increasing activity on renewable energy projects.

It had also seen a 12% rise in real estate income where clients include British Land and Sainsbury's.

Since the financial year end the firm has seen good growth in commercial dispute resolution and corporate finance.