Legal Business

Consolidation continues as Browne Jacobson targets top 50 through Beale & Co talks

Consolidation continues as Browne Jacobson targets top 50 through Beale & Co talks

Midlands-based Browne Jacobson is in late-stage merger talks with London-based construction and insurance specialist Beale & Co to create a firm with eight offices and a turnover of £82m – putting the combined firm in the top 50 of the Legal Business 100.

In a joint statement, Iain Blatherwick, managing partner at Browne Jacobson, and Antony Smith, senior partner at Beale, said the combination, which would have over 1,000 staff and 137 partners, could offer clear strategic benefits.

Legal Business

H1 2015/16: Double-digit growth for TLT as Browne Jacobson praises London for revenue lift

H1 2015/16: Double-digit growth for TLT as Browne Jacobson praises London for revenue lift

Bristol-headquartered TLT has continued its strong growth into the first half of this financial year, posting double digit revenue growth of 14%, as Browne Jacobson has praised its London office for 7.5% revenue growth.

Revenue for the first six months of 2015/16 rose from around £31m to £35.3m and the firm said it expected turnover for the full-year to approach £70m.

Over the next three months TLT’s managing partner David Pester (pictured) will lead a series of briefings with partners and associate groups on a new strategy, to be ready for summer 2016. The current three-year strategy which was launched in 2012 has seen headcount grow by a third from 669 to 928. Last month the firm made six partner promotions, bringing total partner headcount to over 100.

The firm will also use an outside consultant and access wider market data in preparation for its new strategy.

The double-digit growth continues a string of strong financial performances in recent years, building on the 8% revenue increase for the full financial year 2014/15. In June the firm posted a revenue figure of £62.5m, which took the firm past £60m for the first time and meant revenue has grown by a total of 27% over three years.

Some of the revenue was ploughed into investments with the firm saying it spent £2m on IT with around a further £3m on infrastructure and people.

Significant client wins for the national firm in the year to 30 April include making it onto both Barclays and Sainsbury’s panels.

Meanwhile LB100 firm Browne Jacobson has praised its London office as it continued its strong financial performance for the first half of 2015/16 with revenue growth of 7.5%.

The first half lift in revenue from £28.6m to £30.8m builds on impressive results for the full year 2014/15 which saw revenues rise 17.2% to £58.9m, while profits per equity partner (PEP) soared by 24% to £412,000.

Chief operating officer Sarah Walker Smith said the firm continued to reap the benefits of investment in people and technology in recent years.

‘All our offices are performing well, particularly in London which is driving growth domestically and internationally in key areas such as the financial services, dispute resolution and international asset recovery arena.’

Managing partner Iain Blatherwick added growth was generated across the business with the corporate, public, health and education teams performing particularly well since the beginning of the year.

He added: ‘The pipeline of high quality work across the board remains strong and gives us a robust platform for the next six months which has traditionally been a stronger period for us.’

In January, Blatherwick was rewarded with a further three year term with the partnership unanimously re-electing him. As well as overseeing the firm’s rapid turnover growth, his tenure has included the opening of new offices in Manchester and Exeter, plus a new London office at 6 Bevis Marks.

Last year’s turnover figure represented the fifth year in a row in of record results for the firm and consolidated the strong growth shown in 2013/14 when the firm generated in revenue £50.2m – up 11.5% from £45m in 2012/13.

kathryn.mccann@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Financials 2014/15: Browne Jacobson posts second year of double digit growth with 17% rise in turnover

Financials 2014/15: Browne Jacobson posts second year of double digit growth with 17% rise in turnover

Browne Jacobson has, for the second year in a row, posted a rise in turnover of over 10% with the firm generating £58.9m in the 2014/15 financial year – up 17% from last year’s £50.2m

The 17% increase came from an increase in workload spread across the firm’s offices. Manchester saw the fastest growth with a 73% increase in workload, though was closely followed by London with 61% while Exeter recorded 40% and Birmingham and Nottingham also saw their work done rise by 12% and 11% respectively.

The extra revenues come as the firm surpassed the 100-partner mark this year. It latest promotions round made up seven new partners with five in Birmingham and a further two partners in Nottingham, taking the total to 103. Overall headcount stands at 787 employees who, due to a firmwide performance award scheme introduced in 2010, will recieve a 5.5% exceptional award.

Also this year, in January, current managing partner Iain Blatherwick was rewarded with a further three year term with the partnership unanimously re-electing him. As well as overseeing the firm’s rapid turnover growth, his tenure has included the opening of new offices in Manchester and Exeter, plus a new London office at 6 Bevis Marks.

Blatherwick, said: ‘We have had one of our strongest years ever, comfortably exceeding the targets we set ourselves at the start of the year. There have been many highlights during the year but unveiling our new London office, investment in Birmingham and becoming the first UK law firm to achieve a three star Investors in Customers rating particularly stand out as ones that we are immensely proud of. We thrive on delivering excellent client service and these three alone speak volumes about our commitment to delivering the highest quality legal service we can for our clients.’

The £58.9m represents the fifth year in a row in of record results for the firm and consolidates the strong growth shown in 2013/14 when it generated £50.2m – up 11.5% from £45m in 2012/13.

michael.west@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Partner promotions: Weightmans makes an all-female round as BLM cuts its to six and Browne Jacobson’s partnership passes 100

Partner promotions: Weightmans makes an all-female round as BLM cuts its to six and Browne Jacobson’s partnership passes 100

This week saw Weightmans carry out its first all-female promotions round, making four women up to partner level, while BLM made up six in a reduced round from 2014 and Browne Jacobson promoted seven new partners taking its total partnership to 104.

Weightmans’s round also saw the firm use its Alternative Business Structure for a second year to promote non-legal employees to a Fixed Share Membership (FSM). The firm promoted HR director Sam Airey to FSM, following the first promotion of a business services employee last year, with marketing director Sarah-Jane Howitt.

The three other promotions at the firm were in commercial insurance, corporate finance and corporate dispute resolution. Commenting on the all-female promotions, Airey said: ‘Weightmans prides itself on its people-focused culture and encourages a healthy work life balance. As HR Director, I am delighted and excited about these promotions as it sends a positive message throughout the firm, that we recognise the importance of flexible working.’

In what saw the firm surpass the 100-partner mark, Browne Jacobson made the majority of its promotions in its Birmingham office, which saw five of the seven while a further two partners were made up in Nottingham. The promotions were spread evenly among practices with each partner specialising in a different area.

Meanwhile, as well as the six partner promotions, BLM made 27 associate promotions across five of the firm’s business streams, with 12 in claims solutions, 10 in large loss and technical, three in speciality and financial lines, seven in healthcare and commercial, and one in the firm’s Ireland business stream.

The partner round was much reduced from last year when BLM made up 24 partners after having recently finalised its merger with HBM Sayers.

The list of partner promotions in full is as follows:

Weightmans

Sam Airey, Liverpool, HR Director

Patricia Grinyer, Liverpool, corporate finance

Navdip Wilson, Leicester, commercial insurance and local government

Carole Spiller, Manchester, corporate dispute resolution

Browne Jacobson

Richard Freeth, Birmingham, education

Emma Hopkinson, Birmingham, banking

Mike Jackson, Birmingham, corporate

Lisa McGinn, Birmingham, property

Tim Rayner, Birmingham, property Litigation

Michael Sadler, Nottingham, construction

Lucy Worwood, Nottingham, tax

BLM

Caroline Haydock

Kelly Matthews

Karen Redmore

Matthew Perkins

Sarah Murray-Smith

Jane Littlewood

kathryn.mccann@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Unanimous approval: Blatherwick gets another three-year term at Browne Jacobson

Unanimous approval: Blatherwick gets another three-year term at Browne Jacobson

Browne Jacobson has opted to stick with current managing partner Iain Blatherwick with the firm’s 96-strong partnership unanimously re-electing him for a further three years from 1 May 2015.

Since Blatherwick took over in 2009, he has overseen the Nottingham-based firm’s turnover rise to £50.2m for the financial year 2013/14 – a 52% increase from over a five-year period. His tenure has also seen the opening of new offices in Manchester and Exeter, plus a new London office at 6 Bevis Marks.

The expansion has seen the firm’s overall headcount increase by more than fifty per cent to over 800 spread across the firm’s five offices in Nottingham, Birmingham, Manchester, Exeter and London. There has also been a spate of new client wins including Morrisons, The Trustee of the liquidation of Bernard L Madoff Investment Securities LLC, The Independent Parliamentary Standards Association, NHS England and The Crown Commercial Service.

Speaking to Legal Business, Blatherwick said that more of the same was on the agenda going forward: ‘We settled the strategy last year so we are continuing the focus on insurance, on our private sector, on health and our public sector, trying to make the most of where those overlap. We are absolutely focused on the quality of work, and the relationships we can develop with our clients around the quality of the people we’ve got. Working alongside our clients and being part of their team is when we think we are at our best.

‘The new office in London was a statement of intent around the quality agenda that we’re on. All five offices are important to us but we didn’t think our previous London office quite gave the impression that we wanted to for the business that we are. We have done some recruitment into London recently and we have an opportunity there because of our profile in particular areas. It is definitely part of the plan for the future but each of the other offices have a key part to play in that as well. We are on track for double digit growth again this year. We are doing well.’

Commenting on Iain’s appointment, Derek Bambury, senior partner added: ‘Browne Jacobson has been transformed under Iain’s strong leadership. Whilst there are many people who have contributed to that success it is fair to say that Iain has been one of the prominent forces behind the consistent and highly successful growth realised by the firm.’

kathryn.mccann@legalease.co.uk