Law firm Hammonds, which has a 200-strong practice in Birmingham, saw its profits drop by a quarter over the past year.
Results at the firm for the year to April 2009 showed fee income at £125,4 million, a decrease of five per cent, with Profits per Equity Partner (PEP) at £276,000, a decrease of 25 per cent.
Peter Crossley, the managing partner at Hammonds, said it had been a very challenging year, but there had been some success stories and the Birmingham office had seen some major successes in recent months, with strong performances from the pensions and corporate divisions.
Mr Crossley said: “It has been a year of great challenge, but we have responded actively to unique market conditions. We have seen growth from our employment, pensions, asset-based lending and business recovery teams, and a number of areas, such as planning, litigation and competition have also performed strongly. In addition our offices in Brussels and Spain have both grown by 30 per cent.
“During the course of the last two years we have made a number of structural changes, such as the introduction of performance related pay, the restructuring of our equity and more recently we have made new appointments at senior management level, all of which are designed to create a basis for future profitable growth.
“We continue to invest in growth areas for the firm, which include public sector, employment, banking and international construction.”
The Edmund Street offices of the Birmingham division of Hammonds is embarking on the final stages of a £10 million refurbishment, which began at the start of 2008.
Hammonds in Birmingham, which is led by managing partner Ian Forrest, saw a strong performance in the corporate division, with a number of high-profile deals over the year.
This included advising on the £300 million financial restructuring and sale of Chesapeake Corporation’s operating businesses to private equity institutions.
It also advised on the merger of Boots Opticians and Birmingham-based Dollond & Aitchison. The merger, in January, created the second largest optical chain in the UK, with about 690 branches, directly employing more than 5,000. But it meant the almost complete disappearance of the Dollond & Aitchison brand from the high street.
Other work carried out by the Birmingham office included advising Nuclear Management Partners on the £17 billion Sellafield clean-up. It also advised Dunelm (Soft Furnishings) on a multi-million pound transfer of its IT and telecoms systems and also on contracts for its new transactional website.
At the same time, the Birmingham pensions team recently won the mandate to advise the two pension schemes of international speciality plastic and fibre products supplier, Filtrona.
The property team has also been instructed by new client Quintain Estates & Development plc to advise on the development of City Park Gate in the Eastside development.