On the back of its stock market listing earlier this year, national firm Gateley will open an office in Reading, a venture to be led by well-established local lawyer Christopher Avery, who joins from Pitmans where he served as managing partner for 25 years.
In its first office opening since it launched a presence in Leeds in 2012 and its seventh in England, Gateley said this morning (1 December) the new office ‘fits with the strategy of becoming a leading national firm while still retaining a strong regional emphasis.’
Commercial property lawyer Avery has spent 36 years at Pitmans, overseeing major firm growth from 25 to over 200 staff with revenues totalling over £20m. In June, corporate partner John Hutchinson was elected to succeed Avery as managing partner.
Gateley chief executive Michael Ward said: ‘Christopher has been appointed to help us develop a full-service commercial practice in the highly strategic Thames Valley/M4 corridor which is a large and growing centre for legal services. He is well known in the Thames Valley and has the right combination of experience and entrepreneurial spirit to help us deliver our objectives.
‘We indicated at the time of IPO that while we had a fully invested UK network of offices we would consider opportunities in one or two other geographical locations if the right opportunity presented itself and Reading is such an opportunity.’
The opening follows Birmingham-headquartered Gateley’s AIM listing in June, having set aside £5m for investment from the float which placed 31.6m ordinary shares with institutional and other investors at 95p per share. The plc had a market capitalisation of £100m on admission – down from the initially targeted range of between £130m to £140m. Last month the firm said it was on track to lift revenues by 10% to take the firm’s revenue over the last six months to almost £30m.
For more on Gateley’s landmark IPO see: ‘Selling the family silver: Will Gateley’s listing on London’s stock exchange pay off?’