From its fancy offices at Oslo’s new waterfront complex known as Tjuvholmen, Norwegian law firm BA-HR has reported a record year in client billings, even at a time when other law firms are seeing income flatten out or decline. The firm’s employees generated an average of NOK 4.4 million (USD 773,000) each in 2013.
Partners, of course pocketed much more, reported newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN). Salary, bonus and dividends yielded between NOK 10 million and NOK 15 million per partner. Managing partner Morten P Smørdal denies the firm is charging clients too much.
“It’s the market that determines the price for our services,” Smørdal told DN. “We view ourselves as competitive.”
The firm counts among its clients the Aker system and its high-profile owner Kjell Inge Røkke, and handled stocklistings last year for such shipping and offshore firms as Odfjell Drilling, BW LPG and Tanker Investments.
Wikborg Rein remains Norway’s biggest law firm in terms of operating revenues, followed by Thommessen, Schjødt, Wiersholm and then BA-HR. While some firms also achieved average income per employee of around NOK 4 million, only BA-HR could boast such a large increase in operating revenues, up 11.6 percent in 2013. Several firms reported declines, and new law school graduates are finding the competition for jobs harder than ever.