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Partners at top law firm Norton Rose Fulbright share £106m profit pot

Oscar Williams-Grut
Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
Lawyers outside the Old Bailey in London. Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Partners at top law firm Norton Rose Fulbright shared a profit pile of £106.3m ($138.5m) last year, according to filings.

Equity members of Norton Rose Fulbright LLP’s internal profit sharing scheme had a total pot of £106.3m to distribute between them last year, according to accounts filed with Companies House. That was up from £99m in 2017.

The member of the Norton Rose Fulbright partnership scheme with the biggest reward took home £1.5m. That was up from £1.39m in 2017.

260 people on average were eligible for the profit share in 2018, suggesting the average profit per partner was just over £400,000.

Norton Rose Fulbright did not respond to Yahoo Finance UK’s request for comment in time for publication.

Norton Rose Fulbright, one of the biggest law firms in the world, is known for its financial services and energy industry work. Notable cases it worked on last year include Trinity Mirror’s acquisition of Northern & Shell’s newspaper and magazine assets for £126.7m and work on Blackstone’s $17bn investment in Thomason Reuters.

Most law firms run a profit share model where partners at the firm are allowed to buy into a sharing agreement that entitles them to a slice of annual profits. The exact share that each partner receives is typically calculated based on factors such as the length of time with the firm and the amount of fees each member generates.

Despite the fact that Norton Rose Fulbright’s profit pot rose in 2018, the total profit per partner — a key metric within the legal world — declined slightly. There were fewer partners eligible for the profit share in 2017, meaning the average profit per partner was around £410,000.

Norton Rose Fulbright is headquartered in London and has 25 offices around the world, stretching from Paris to Tokyo. The accounts filed with Companies House do not cover its US, Canadian, Australian, or South African operations.

The rise in the total profit pot coincided with a rise in fee income from £448.5m in 2017 to £472.6m in the year to April 2018. The majority of revenue — £252.6m — came from the UK.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s total headcount dipped slightly to 2,143 but the number of fee earners rose by 2 to 1,087. Total staff costs, including wages, pensions, and social security, dipped by 1.2% to £210.6m.

Norton Rose Fulbright is one of the largest law firms in the world by revenue and headcount. The Lawyer magazine ranked it 11th by dispute revenue last year.

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Oscar Williams-Grut covers banking, fintech, and finance for Yahoo Finance UK. Follow him on Twitter at @OscarWGrut.

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