Freshfields bosses see pay bump despite smaller profits pool

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The senior partner, managing partners and heads of global practice groups of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer took home more profits in fiscal year 2015-16 despite a large contraction of the firm’s profits available for division among members.

According to a report from Legal Week, the Magic Circle firm’s limited liability partnership accounts  for the 12 months ending 30 April show that the management team was paid £18.1m, or about $29.4m,  up 8% from the previous comparable period when the team was paid £16.8m, or about $27.3m.

The pay bump comes even though the partnership saw a hefty drop in its operating profit, which shrank by nearly 25% to £393.1m, or about $637.9m for the year. This is down from £514m, or about $834.1m, in the 2014-15 fiscal year. Revenue, however, increased from £1.279bn, or about $2.076bn, to £1.285bn, or about $2.085bn, according to the publication.

Meanwhile, a report from Legal Business also noted that the LLP accounts for the 2015-16 year now reveal topline to be lower by £40m, or about $64.9m, than when reported by the firm in July.

According to the Magic Circle firm, currency exchange headwinds can account for the difference. The exchange rate used for the yearly report is the prevailing rate at the end of the year, while the average rate for the whole year is used in the LLP accounts, the firm said.

Meanwhile, there seems to be a trimming of the workforce at Freshfields. Legal Business said that the average number of members decreased by ten to 324. The number of fee-earning staff also decreased by 5% to 2,511 from 2,640, while the secretarial staff was slashed by eight to 2,111. However, staff costs increased by 4% to £584.5m, or about $948.56m.


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