PLAN: Managing partner of Brodies, Bill Drummond, said its investment strategy put it on a firm footing for future growth. Picture: Steve Cox
In the 12 months to April 30, 2012, operating profits before partner distributions were up 22% to £17.6m, although the law firm declined to give a profit-per-equity-partner figure.
Costs grew 12% to £25.2m, mainly due to an increase in staff numbers plus investment in infrastructure and systems.
Partners went from 66 to 73 with hires in practice areas including restructuring and insolvency, insurance, agriculture, corporate, litigation and shipping.
Overall staff numbers increased 9% from 472 to 513 as the firm established an office in Brussels, its first outside Scotland, and continued the expansion of its Aberdeen operation.
The Belgian site was set up to offer advice on European Union regulation, competition and public law to Scottish clients.
The firm said it had seen good results across all of its practice areas but corporate, banking and property had done particularly well.
The banking practice is understood to have been active helping clients restructure debt, working on infrastructure projects and advising on the financing for property deals, such as the sale of the Ocean Terminal shopping centre in Edinburgh.
The corporate side has been buoyed by the volume of deals lawyers have acted in, with oil and gas having a major influence, with clients including Total and Maersk Oil.
In property it has acted in several major office transactions in Edinburgh and Glasgow and is working on the Prime Four development in Aberdeen.
Bill Drummond, managing partner of Brodies, said the results were the first part of a three-year strategic plan.
He said: "Amid a period of economic turbulence, we have remained wedded to our strategy of delivering premium services and innovative solutions to all sectors that are important to the Scottish economy.
"This has included the expansion of our oil and gas and wider team in Aberdeen and our decision to open an office in Brussels, in recognition that the work of the European Commission will have an ever more direct impact on both corporate and public sector activity in Scotland. This investment strategy, combined with careful management of underlying costs, means we have no reliance on external debt – putting Brodies on a firm footing for future growth over the next two years of our 2011-14 strategic period.
"I am grateful that our clients are buying into what we are doing and we promise to keep on working hard to help them overcome their current challenges and respond to the many opportunities that will develop as we emerge from this period of economic uncertainty."
Brodies styles itself as the biggest all-Scotland law firm, as other competitors with headquarters in Scotland have operations in London and the rest of the UK.
According to recent industry research, it has more Scottish fee earners than peers, such as Dundas & Wilson, Shepherd & Wedderburn, Pinsent Masons & Maclay, Murray & Spens.
Earlier this year, Who's Who Legal named Brodies the leading firm in Scotland.
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