Ledingham Chalmers pays staff cost of living bonus as profits rise to £4.1m

Ledingham Chalmers pays staff cost of living bonus as profits rise to £4.1m

Jennifer Young

Ledingham Chalmers has set aside £200,000 to support staff with the rising cost of living as it records an increase in profits from £4 million to £4.1m.

Announced at the same time as the Aberdeen-headquartered firm’s financial results, this bonus means each member of staff employed on 10 October, 2022 – and not serving notice – will receive a one-off payment of £1,200.

It is part of a £400,000 pot for staff including discretionary bonuses and the performance related pay (PRP) scheme.

Managing partner Jennifer Young said: “Everyone is dealing with a rising cost of living, and we haven’t underestimated what that means for our colleagues, so it’s important we take steps to provide as much support as we can.

“That’s why, as well as these bonuses and PRP payments, we’ve benchmarked salaries against the marketplace and are reviewing our wider benefits package.”

This decision, the firm says, reflects a positive set of financial results for 2021/22 which include its highest turnover – £12.8 million – since becoming a limited liability partnership in 2006.

Turnover for the group, including subsidiary Ledingham Chalmers Financial, was £13.6m, compared with £12.3m in 2020/21. Group profit also rose to £4.1m from £4m the previous year.

Plus, the firm’s charitable trust donated £13,000 between April 2021 and 2022 including £7,000 to recognise colleagues’ efforts to mark its 30 years in business.

The results follow a strong performance across the board including in the staple corporate and commercial practice areas. Results from the rural and private client teams continued to rise against the previous years.

Mrs Young added: “Year-on-year growth in the private client discipline, including residential property and rural, has been encouraging and reflects a lot of hard work from colleagues, as well as strategic investment. The most recent example being when the Simpson & Marwick Aberdeen estate agency team joined us in 2019.

“That, along with a strong performance in insurance and personal injury litigation, where we continue to act Scotland-wide for one of the UK’s largest insurers as well as a host of public sector organisations, and our involvement in some of the highest profile commercial transactions in the north and north east gives us a robust platform for growth.”

Mrs Young said having the right people in the right roles across its offices through recruitment and developing talent is also crucial for growth.

Firm-wide there have been 55 new starts since November 2021, bringing the headcount as of 10 October 2022 to 176 including 27 partners.

High profile hires over the last year include senior associate Jane Rattray and associate Eilidh Findlay in litigation and associate Ross McNaughton in rural as well as senior solicitors Jason Rust and Emily Flett-Grant.

In April, Ledingham Chalmers announced eight promotions including Victoria Leslie to equity partner and Andrew Stott to partner. Mr Stott is also the president of Inverness Chamber of Commerce.

Mrs Young said: “The market is changing dramatically, client demand is evolving, and also how we deliver legal services is changing. So, it’s going to be an exciting time for the firm. The exceptionally competitive marketplace for recruiting, winning, and retaining business is certainly a challenge, but one I think we’re more than up for.”

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