This specialist international law firm had suffered a severe decline in profits and had also been subject to poor financial control. The overdraft spiralled, and the partners ended up with significantly overdrawn current accounts.
The firm’s bank intervened and identified the need for a turnaround specialist. Playfair Partnerships were selected to assist with the rehabilitation of the firm by providing strategic guidance and better financial control and management.
Playfair Partnerships introduced sophisticated financial reporting and controls for the firm globally, reviewed performance and structures, and undertook business evaluation and strategic planning.
Playfair Partnerships introduced monitoring systems which helped the firm to improve utilisation and generate more profit by encouraging higher targets of work output to be set, and progressively “raised the bar”, which in turn allowed the firm to increase pay levels and hire more fee-earning staff.
A new enlarged management committee was created, representing each facet of the business as well as the specific functional areas (such as marketing and IT). This more informed group debated the strategic and management issues facing the business. One of Playfair Partnerships’ partners attended all management committee meetings presenting management information and advising on business strategy and finance.
The firm carried out a SWOT analysis to examine each area of the business. This exercise identified significant opportunities, and also recognised the brand’s weakness. Playfair Partnerships were instrumental in this and working with brand specialists helped the firm eradicate the perceived weakness and build a stronger brand that would attract greater volumes of higher quality, more profitable work.
Following the turnaround, the law firm acquired a further overseas office and a number of lateral hires in the UK, while reducing borrowings and increasing the profit per partner by 100% in two years.
“Playfair Partnerships initiated both better financial accounting, control and forecasting and a plan for better management of the firm’s business. Until their arrival, the financial reporting had not produced sufficient information easily to detect incipient problems while management was largely non-existent in the true sense. Their approach had an immediately positive effect and the profits of the firm have grown substantially. They have been particularly responsible for much improved working capital and cash management. Much of the firm’s current prosperity and success is attributable to Playfair Partnerships” – Managing Partner