Legal Business

‘A fantastic achievement’: Boodle Hatfield marks 300-year anniversary with revenue growth

‘A fantastic achievement’: Boodle Hatfield marks 300-year anniversary with revenue growth

In its tercentenary year, Legal Business 100 firm Boodle Hatfield has announced revenues of £30.7m for 2021/22, up 4% from £29.4m the previous year.

The latest figures continue the firm’s recent upward trajectory. Since 2016, the private wealth and real estate focused firm has recorded an average annual revenue increase of 5.5% and a 14% average increase in profit. In total, this equates to a 38% jump in revenue and a 113% increase in profit.

The latest top line figures also show a reverse on the 4% drop in revenue in the previous financial year, where it ranked 97th in LB100.

Senior partner Sara Maccallum (pictured) commented: ‘Given the pandemic, it’s a fantastic achievement to have been able to realise solid growth. This really comes down to our people who have pulled together fantastically over the last few years to ensure we remain a strong firm, delivering exceptional advice to our clients.

In the last six months, two lateral hires have bolstered the firm’s offering in private client and property. This includes the recent arrival of Clare Stirzaker, former Head of private client at PwC and Jonathan Hyndman – property finance partner from Rosling King. This follows six further lateral hires in the past five years and seven partner promotions.

In addition, Boodle Hatfield emerged as one of five ‘diversity champions’ in last year’s LB100 report, with 60% female lawyers and 53% of equity partners being women. The firm was also noted as one of the fastest-growing firms for profit per equity partner between 2016 and 2021, increasing PEP 105% from £309,000 to £633,000.

Commenting on the coming year and the firm’s 300-year anniversary, Maccallum said: ‘As we look back at this success, it is important to note that this milestone provides a chance to reflect and build on our heritage – we are merely the custodians of the Boodle Hatfield name, and we want to create a legacy that our successors will be just as proud of’.

Initially established by 19-year old legal clerk Robert Andrews in 1722, Boodle Hatfield now has offices in London and Oxford.

Legal Business

An ‘exemplary’ presented case: Freshfields-advised Sotheby’s prevails against claim it mistook a Caravaggio for a copy


Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has successfully had dismissed a multimillion pound lawsuit against auction house Sotheby’s concerning whether a painting of The Cardsharps was properly analysed and catalogued.

Lancelot William Thwaytes, who instructed Boodle Hatfield’s head of litigation Simon Fitzpatrick, claimed Sotheby’s ‘failed in its duty’ to advise on what some art experts now believe to be an original Caravaggio.

Thwaytes sued Sotheby’s, which instructed Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer litigator Paul Lomas, alleging he was given negligent advice. The Cardsharps, the original of which is on display at Kimbell Art Museum in Texas, was catalogued as by a ‘follower’ of the Baroque master and sold by the auctioneer for a hammer price of £42,000.

The buyer was the wife of Caravaggio collector Sir Denis Mahon, who in November 2007 at his 97th birthday declared the painting a Caravaggio and insured it for £10m. Thwaytes claimed the auction house should have consulted with a wider range of scholars and undertaken x-rays.

However, Mrs Justice Rose, dismissed the case and noted: ‘They reasonably came to the view on the basis of what they saw that the quality of the Painting was not sufficiently high to indicate that it might be by Caravaggio.’

She added: ‘The painting probably would have made slightly more at auction or by private treaty if it had been sold with a catalogue entry detailing the positive and negative attributions of respectable scholars but not a great deal more.’

Boodle Hatfield instructed Henry Legge QC of 5 Stone Buildings. Lomas, who formerly led Freshfields’ global commercial disputes team, instructed Andrew Onslow QC of 3 Verulam Buildings. Rose concluded: ‘I wish to record my gratitude for the exemplary way in which this fascinating case was presented at trial by Mr Legge QC for Mr Thwaytes and Mr Onslow QC for Sotheby’s, and for the huge amount of work put into the preparation of the case by the legal teams and by the expert witnesses.’

Legal Business

A ‘massive’ difference in value: Sotheby’s picks Freshfields to defend it against Caravaggio claim


Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer litigator Paul Lomas is leading Sotheby’s defence against a professional negligence claim after the auction house sold a painting in London for £42,000 that is now claimed to be by baroque master Caravaggio and worth over £11m.

Boodle Hatfield’s head of litigation Simon Fitzpatrick, alongside Tim Maxwell, are representing Lancelot William Thwaytes in a claim that ‘the auction house failed in its duty to research and advise upon’ what is now argued to be a genuine Caravaggio version of the Card Sharps, with the original owned by Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth.

Thwaytes inherited the painting in 1965 from his cousin, Caravaggio collector Surgeon Captain Thwaytes, who once owned The Musicians by Caravaggio which now hangs in Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

A specialist at Sotheby’s concluded that The Card Sharps was a copy, and not by the baroque master, before Thwaytes sold the painting at a Sotheby’s auction for £42,000. The painting being sold to the wife of Sir Denis Mahon, who revealed in November 2007 at his 97th birthday that it was painted by Caravaggio. The  Painting  is  currently  on  display  at  the Museum  of  the  Order  of  St  John in London and  is  insured  for  £10m.

Thwaytes claims that his requests for full x-ray and infra-red analysis were ignored before the sale and that the auction house ‘failed to consider the possibility of cleaning the Painting’, which would have revealed details that ‘should have led Sotheby’s to question its  approach’.

Lawyers for Thwaytes said in a court filing: ‘Proper research would have resulted in Sotheby’s consulting with experienced conservators and soliciting the opinions of Caravaggio scholars on the Painting… The difference in value between an anonymous copy  and an autograph replica was massive’

Boodle Hatfield have instructed Henry Legge QC of 5 Stone Buildings. Lomas has formerly led Freshfields’ global commercial disputes team and has instructed Andrew Onslow QC and Richard Edwards of 3 Verulam Buildings on the case.