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Employees cash in as Ledingham Chalmers grows profits to £4m

Ledingham Chalmers managing partner Jennifer Young
Ledingham Chalmers managing partner Jennifer Young

Ledingham Chalmers’ staff shared a Covid-19 bonus pot worth £150,000, the Aberdeen-based law firm has revealed.

The payout, benefitting all those employed by the practice as of March 31 2021, equates to a distribution of £1,250 for those working full-time.

It came during a year of growing profits for Ledingham Chalmers, which also has offices in Inverness, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling, as well as at Thainstone, near Inverurie.

The pandemic has permanently changed the way we work and support our clients, so we have to adapt quickly and effectively to respond.”

Jennifer Young, managing partner, Ledingham Chalmers.

The firm said pre-tax profits in its 2020-21 trading year, including from its Ledingham Chalmers Financial subsidiary, increased to £4 million.

Profits for the previous year came in at £3.6m, while in 2018-19 they totalled £3.5m.

Group turnover in the latest period was £12.3m, down from £12.7m the year before but still an improvement on the £12.1m reported for 2018-19.

The firm said it aimed to invest a “six-figure sum” over the next year as part of a growth strategy to double revenue to £25m by 2025.

Partner remuneration

Partners were allocated average remuneration of £160,549 during 2020-21, with the biggest sum totalling £370,352.

But Ledingham Chalmers said its payouts to partners were “restricted” and staggered in order to make sure it remained “resilient throughout the pandemic”.

A spokeswoman for the firm added: “What partners have actually been paid in the past 18 months is lower than what has been allocated.”

Explaining the fall in turnover in 2020-21, the spokeswoman said: “End of year results bore up well, showing the demand for legal services remained throughout.

“Initially, there was an impact due to the closure of, for example, the land register and courts, but once those institutions rallied we were able to adapt and continue.”

‘Strong performance across the board’

Managing partner Jennifer Young said: “Reading or watching anything over the past 18 months or so you’d be hard-pressed to miss words and phrases like ‘unprecedented’ and ‘year like no other’.

“That meant the process of making predictions for our business at the start of the pandemic was all-the-more complex.

“What we could see coming through was the effort and commitment from colleagues across all our offices, which resulted in a strong performance across the board.”

The firm set up its £150,000 Covid-19 pot to reflect this effort, Ms Young said.

Investing for the future

On the six-figure investment, she said: “The pandemic has permanently changed the way we work and support our clients, so we have to adapt quickly and effectively to respond.

“For example, as well as updating our financial management system and processes, we are spending more on our external presence and internal communications.


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“This includes our website, a new intranet as well as our virtual conferencing facilities, not least because hybrid working and virtual court hearings, certainly for civil proceedings, are here for the long term.

“Looking to double our revenue to £25m in the next five years is a challenge, but it’s the basis of our growth strategy.”

Some of that growth is expected to come organically but Ledingham Chalmers is also looking to add to its offering through the likes of hires, acquisitions, and mergers.

Hybrid working ‘an important part of attracting and retaining the best talent’

Ms Young said: “Ultimately, this will help us create an even stronger and resilient firm for our colleagues and our clients.”

More than a quarter (27%) of Ledingham Chalmers’ employees have arrangements for hybrid working in place, the managing partner said.

She added: “We have always offered colleagues flexible options but this seemed a natural next step.

“It’s also an important part of attracting and retaining the best talent to help us grow our business as well as delivering our core values, particularly satisfying and impressing our clients, treating others well and keeping learning.


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