A tale of two halves for Auckland suburban legal firms

A city centre location is not necessarily a prerequisite for strong profitability for Auckland legal firms; but neither is a suburban locale a guarantee.

Moore Markhams Auckland legal practitioners’ performance survey 2021 has just been released and shares insights into the sector’s financial success factors.

“Overall, the sector has remained pretty buoyant through the past few years of Covid disruption,” says Sam Bassett, one of the report’s authors.

“Interestingly, there were suburban firms featuring in the both the top and bottom five in terms of profitability (ranked by profitability per equity partner). It does show that a central city location, which is likely to be quite fancy, is not a necessity to attract a good client base or strong staffing.”

Another key factor in determining strong profitability is the employment of a practice manager, with 79 percent of firms in the survey engaging one.

“We have seen this trend strengthening with the resultant influence being further established,” says Sam. “The Top 10 firms have all recognised the efficiencies to be gained by utilising a practice manager as it allows partners to focus on business growth with a direct positive impact on profitability.”

Non-equity partners (NEPs) continue to contribute significantly to the overall success of small to medium sized firms.

“NEPs are contributing heavily to firms’ profits and are commanding remuneration to reflect their economic contributions. The historic reluctance of equity partners to bring younger partners through seems to be abating. Certainly, those firms that see NEPs as an opportunity to grow the pie rather than diminish equity partner income are benefitting from stronger and better firms,” Sam says.

The survey report and accompanying data is available for a fee of $575 (Incl GST) and copies can be ordered here.

An initiative of a legal industry business development unit of Moore Markhams, the regular survey conducted in the Auckland marketplace, covers topics such as practice profitability, efficiency, work type, hours, salary comparisons, and professional indemnity insurance.