Law firm’s turnover takes lockdown knock as workforce’s agile performance praised

Leading regional law firm Wilkin Chapman was hit with a near 10 per cent drop in revenues through the coronavirus pandemic.

Turnover slipped from £27.4 million to £24.7 million for the Grimsby headquartered firm in the year to March 31.

Staff numbers reduced from 411 to 343 in the period – not including the 46 partners – with the firm having restructured in the early stages of the pandemic.

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It lost a third of non fee-earning employees as processes were modernised and ‘future-proofed’ following a start-of-decade review – a wider strategic move that collided head-on into the enforced economic lockdown as the financial period began.

An operating profit of £9.2 million was up eight per cent on the £8.5 million in 2020.

The bottom line was aided by a government grant of £923,427, drawn down through the furlough scheme.

New chief executive Robin Simmonds, who joined from global law firm Baker McKenzie, said: “The impact of Covid over the last 12 months has been unprecedented across the legal sector.

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“Wilkin Chapman has continued to strive to deliver exceptional service for our clients while at the same time, reducing costs from within.

“One of the challenges the pandemic forced upon the firm, was the need for our colleagues to work more flexibly. Our operational teams did a fantastic job in enabling most of our workforce to be able to work from home, in a five-day turnaround period. This flexibility has resulted in an increase in staff productivity which was a major contributing factor in our increased profitability this year.”

The results were described as cementing the firm’s position as not only the largest law firm in the Humber and Lincolnshire regions, but also as one of the most profitable.

Senior partner Andrew Holt said the performance was testament to the continued efforts of the workforce.

Andrew Holt, senior partner, Wilkin Chapman.
Andrew Holt, senior partner, Wilkin Chapman.
(Image: Picture by www.DaveMoss.co.uk)

He said: ‘‘This increased profitability gives the firm the ability to re-invest in the business. We recently announced our new premises in Louth which we hope to open in 2022. In addition to this, we have signed off on a significant project to improve our technology and innovation, demonstrated with a commitment to purchase laptops for our employees to improve systems that support flexible working and enhances our client service.”

Mr Holt added that the ranking of 111th in the Top 200 UK law firms was “proof of our ability to remain strong in an environment that has seen a lot of movement on a national sector level.”

Wilkin Chapman also has offices in Beverley, Lincoln, Louth and Horncastle, with an acquired insolvency practice, Silke & Co, now brought in-house as Wilkin Chapman Business Solutions, having previouly operated in Doncaster.

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