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Resilient Keystone sees double-digit revenue growth in financials buoyed by senior recruitment

Keystone Law has significantly outstripped its half-year results unveiled in September, by posting a healthy 11% increase in turnover for the full year to 31 January 2021.

Revenues were up to £55m from last year’s £49.6m, with the rate of increase nearly double the 6.5% announced in the half-year results.

Profit before tax also notably rebounded after an 18% dip declared in September due to internal investments, such as additional office space at its Chancery Lane headquarters. Profits were up marginally on a full-year basis from £5.2m to £5.4m.

Chief executive James Knight (pictured) said: ‘The nature of Keystone’s business model, whereby our 350+ lawyers were all well acquainted with remote working when lockdown began, has undoubtedly made it easier for the firm to remain 100% operationally efficient since March 2020. Nevertheless, I am extremely proud of what the firm and our people have achieved in the last year, not just for maintaining that efficiency but also for delivering solid growth.’

He also took aim at firms who would be potentially unwilling to shift attitudes towards remote working: ‘I am excited about the year ahead, not least because the vast majority of the legal profession has started to suspect something that we have known for 20 years: if the right tools and infrastructure are in place then lawyers, even when undertaking complicated, multidisciplinary transactions, can deliver a far better service if they are given flexibility and autonomy while enjoying a better work-life balance.’

Underpinning the solid results was a year of concerted senior recruitment. Over the last 12 months, Keystone has expanded its bench of principals (partner-equivalents) by an impressive 58, from 328 to 369. Between the additional office space and lateral recruitment, the firm can rightly be proud of pursuing such considerable investment while ensuring no member of staff was furloughed due to the pandemic.

In August 2020 alone, Keystone made 10 lateral partner hires covering areas such as corporate, IP and restructuring and insolvency.

After originally opting not to recommend a final dividend for the year ending 31 January 2020 due to Covid uncertainty, in light of the firm’s robust financial performance, Keystone is proposing to pay out a final dividend for the end of this financial year of 10.6p per share.

This includes a 3.5p per share payment, described as ‘the remaining value which would have been paid in respect of 31 January 2020 had the pandemic not occurred’, and a 7.1p per share payment ‘in accordance with the established dividend policy.’

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