Legal Business

Sponsored firm profile:
Trowers & Hamlins

Trowers & Hamlins has one of the largest disputes practices in Birmingham, handling high-end, complex and often cross-border matters for clients across all types of contentious work, with specialisms in commercial litigation, civil fraud and investigations, property litigation and construction disputes.

Our Midlands practice is deeply connected into our wider business, with a significant proportion of our work originating from our international offices across Malaysia and the Middle East, and our strategic partnership with Interlaw – an elite global network of over 7,000 first-class lawyers in 150 cities worldwide.

We act on a wide range of commercial disputes, with key strengths in international, particularly Middle East-related work, heavyweight commercial matters and disputes involving public sector bodies. We are advising the Central Bank of Bahrain bringing claims worth close to £3bn in connection with the AHAB and Saad Group frauds, for example, and we also receive regular mandates from the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company. Our work on disputes emanating from the Middle East includes cases played out in the local courts and arbitral tribunals in that region, as well as in London and other international disputes hubs.

Handling complex high-value matters

Closer to home, our team has had a number of its recent cases in the Commercial Court reported and receives instructions in commercial disputes from both regional and national players. We have a strong record of working with in-house counsel teams in difficult, sensitive and complex claims and investigations.

Trowers has a long history of acting in disputes involving the public sector and continues to be a leader in this field. For example, we are on the panel for the Department of Health, who we advise on various high-value claims.

We are one of the only firms with a team recognised for its civil fraud expertise, where we act for a wide range of public, private and third-sector clients dealing with prevention, investigations and recovery actions across multiple jurisdictions. With deep experience in freezing injunction applications, we also advise on anti-bribery and fraud prevention issues and are increasingly known for significant instructions arising from cyber crime. We support both domestic and international clients dealing with the regulatory and data issues that arise from cyber events and our team regularly speaks at conferences on cyber security and dealing with breaches.

Supporting a broad client base

Our real estate litigation team in the West Midlands has grown considerably in recent years and now stands apart for the breadth of both its work and its client base, covering the full range of City-quality contentious property work in the regional market. Our clients include significant public sector pension funds and investment funds, NHS foundation trusts, West Midlands-based property investors and corporate occupiers, large and small developers, high-net-worth-individual clients, large and small housing associations and care providers, including the West Midlands Metropolitan Authorities Pension Fund, Westminster City Council (investment property), King’s College Hospital, Mainstay Residential, Midland Heart and Citizen Housing Group.

Our construction litigation practice in Birmingham is focused on the development of risk management and dispute avoidance strategies to help clients retain control of projects. When action does become necessary, we guide clients towards the most satisfactory outcome possible, whether that is through adjudication, mediation, conciliation, early neutral evaluation, expert determination or a more bespoke process. The disputes team is an integral part of our projects and construction department, providing a full service to construction projects on a local, national and international basis. We advise housing associations, NHS trusts, contractors and leisure developers across the Midlands region on a range of significant contentious matters relating to construction aspects of various schemes and projects.

We believe our full-service litigation practice in the Midlands stands apart for its ability to cope with complexity and diversity, and for its national and global reach. We have significant expertise using litigation funders to finance claims ranging from £200,000 to over £100m – we always look at the big picture when supporting clients, pursuing the most effective dispute resolution achievable.

In order to develop our relationships with in-house counsel, we run a breakfast series called Counsel’s Club where we discuss topical issues and share experiences, resulting in valuable collaboration and information sharing.

Key partners

Helen Briant

Partner, commercial litigation
T: 0121 214 8867

Helen Briant is a partner in Trowers & Hamlins’ commercial litigation practice in Birmingham, specialising in commercial litigation and arbitration. She regularly works with in-house legal teams to resolve substantial commercial disputes. She has particular experience in working for clients in the manufacturing and engineering sector. She also has significant experience dealing with complex and sensitive disputes involving private wealth, investments, trusts and estates, and her work is usually cross-border. Briant’s clients include high-net-worth individuals, business owners, trustees, executors and beneficiaries, and many of the cases that she works on involve fraud and dishonesty.

Yetunde Dania

Partner, property litigation
T: 0121 214 8822

Yetunde Dania specialises in residential landlord and tenant property matters for large and small housing associations, and UK and overseas-based private landlords with property portfolios in the UK. Her work includes contentious and non-contentious issues, such as providing advice and assistance to clients in complex possession and injunction claims, defending counterclaims for disrepair and/or allegations of alleged landlord-related regulatory failures, in both the county and magistrates’ courts, and she provides advice across the very wide spectrum of residential landlord and tenant legislation.

Michael Green

Partner, property litigation
T: 0121 214 8861

With almost 20 years of real estate litigation experience acting for a range of private and public sector clients, Michael Green joined Trowers & Hamlins’ property litigation team in Birmingham in 2018 with the objective of broadening its practice. He acts for investors, corporate occupiers, developers and public sector bodies, including public sector pension funds and other investment funds. Green’s clients comprise a mix of real estate stakeholders in the Midlands, together with London-based clients. He has particular expertise in complex commercial landlord and tenant disputes, including those arising in the context of large-scale redevelopments.

Mark Kenkre

Partner, commercial litigation
T: 0121 214 8863

Mark Kenkre specialises in commercial litigation, arbitration and conducting investigations, with an emphasis on complex and commercially sensitive disputes involving allegations of fraud. He has an interest in technology, cyber crime and cyber security issues, including the development of fraud risks relating to blockchain technology and developments in legal technology, and he is a member of the Commercial Fraud Lawyers Association and the Fraud Advisory Panel.

Guy Willetts

Partner, property litigation
T: 0121 214 8845

Guy Willetts has more than 30 years’ experience in the resolution of property disputes, acting for owners or occupiers of all types of commercial property (including shops, offices, warehouses and industrial buildings), investors and developers, local authorities, pension funds, NHS trusts and government agencies. He has been involved in a number of landmark cases and is focused on getting the right result in the most cost-effective manner, which may involve alternative dispute resolution, including self-help remedies, mediation, arbitration or expert determination, with the courts as a last resort.


10 Colmore Row
B3 2QD

Tel: 0121 214 8800


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Legal Business

Financials 2016/17: Trowers & Hamlins steadies ship with double-digit turnover rise

Top-50 UK firm Trowers & Hamlins has recorded increases in turnover and profit per equity partner (PEP) to recover from last year’s mixed financial results.

Revenue at the 400-lawyer firm rose 12% from £85.6m to £97m, while PEP also saw a marginal 1% increase from £310,000 to £312,000 for the 2016/17 financial year. The growth in PEP was underpinned by a 10% increase in net income, from £19.5m to £21.5m. However the firm’s equity spread remained largely flat, with top of equity at £450,000 and the bottom at £180,000.

The surge in top-line at Trowers has come as the firm made major investments in its commercial property, housing, banking & finance, construction and litigation practices over the year, reflected in the major headcount jump in both non-equity partners and overall lawyer headcount. The number of non-equity partners has grown 28%, while overall lawyer headcount has seen a 22% rise. For 2015/16, the firm recorded mixed results, with revenue increasing by 8% but PEP falling by the same amount.

Close to half (45%) of Trowers’ fee income came from its real estate practice over the past financial year, and the firm had some sizable mandates on that front. In September 2016, Trowers advised real estate investment management firm Apache Capital on a £145m tower development in Birmingham in September 2016.

Senior partner Jennie Gubbins said: ‘We have an established profile in the real estate sector, where we have focused on developing new client relationships while seeing increased instructions from existing clients on diverse projects.’

Other recent financial results have seen pensions boutique Sacker & Partners record a 16% drop in PEP to £794,000 as revenue remained unchanged.

Legal Business

Trowers and Withers post fall in autumn trainee retention rates

Trowers & Hamlins will retain 70% of its second-year trainees in newly-qualified (NQ) roles this autumn, while Withers has decided to keep 73% of its final-year group this year, both a fall from last year’s retention rates.

Seven Trowers’ trainees from ten-strong cohort will be retained to qualify into the firm’s commercial property, corporate, construction and real estate departments.

Four of those NQ solicitors will be based in Trowers’ London office, while two will be in Exeter and one in Manchester.

Trowers banking partner and training principal Anna Clark told Legal Business the firm was ’very pleased with the trainees who have stayed with us’ and described them as an ‘excellent intake.’

However, slightly fewer trainees have been retained than last year’s autumn intake, when 11 of 14, or 79% of trainees were kept on. The rate is also significantly lower than Trowers’ spring 2017 trainee retention, when it retained 11 out of 12 or 92% trainees.

The NQ solicitors are Lillian Adebayo, John Garland, Miranda Hamilton-Wood, Rachael Hershman, Emma Kirby, Jasmine Ratta and Justin Ryan.

Trowers has multiple UK offices, a Middle East and South East Asia presence, and bases in Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain. The firm is ranked by Legal 500 tier one for local government legal work.

City firm Withers’ trainee retention rate also fell slightly, as the global private client firm has offered newly-qualified (NQ) contracts to eight of its 11 second-year trainees qualifying this autumn.

In 2016, the firm retained 10 out of its 12 or 83% of its second-year trainees.

NQs at the global private client firm were paid £60,000 this year, after Withers decided to increase their salaries by 7% in October 2016, up from £56,000 in 2015.

The NQ solicitors will qualify across a number of practice areas: one in litigation and arbitration, one in contentious trusts and succession, two in private client and tax, one in charities, and three in the family law team.

Since October 2016’s pay review, first year trainees at Withers were paid £37,000, up from £34,000, with second year salaries £40,000 raised from £37,000.

Withers, which specialises in services for high-net worth individual private clients, has 167 partners, a third of them trained at the firm, across 17 offices across Europe, US, the Caribbean, Asia and Australia. and

Legal Business

Trowers LLP accounts show top member takes home less as profits flat in 2015/16

Trowers & Hamlins‘ top paid member took home £448,698 for the 2015/16 financial year, down 4% on the year previous, according to the firm’s LLP accounts.

The firm saw a mixed result for the 2015/16 financial year, posting total revenues of £85.6m, up from £79.4m the year before, an 8% increase. Profits were flat, up 3% £23.4m from £22.7m, and the firm said in July profits per equity partner were down by 8% to £310,000 from £336,000 the year prior.

The total number of members at the firm rose by 8% during the last financial year to 103, up from 95. The number of fee earners increased by a bumper 61% to 403 while support staff numbers also rose by 8% to 267. Staff costs were up to £34.2m from £31.5m.

According to the accounts, the firm’s management board which includes senior partner Jennie Gubbins as well as six designated members and one salaried partner, received £3.5m, down from £3.7m the year before.

The accounts say revenue improvement reflected improved economic conditions in the UK, and noted the firm had taken on additional office space in Manchester, Exeter and Birmingham, and continued to invest in its IT systems.

The firm’s topline benefited from a combination with Devon-based Stones Solicitors, which it announced in September 2015. Stone Solicitors had an annual turnover of about £5m and had a practice which covered litigation private wealth, real estate, company commercial, and employment.

Trowers also became the first law firm to secure a Qualified Foreign Law Firm (QFLF) licence in Malaysia in a move to capitalise on its Islamic finance offering and target European bound investment.

Legal Business

Trowers & Hamlins latest to freeze pay as Brexit fallout continues


Trowers & Hamlins is the latest firm to place a freeze on fee earners’ pay, citing the ‘economic uncertainty’ following Brexit.

After the EU referendum, associates received an email from the firm’s HR director saying Trowers was holding off on reviews until the next board meeting on 21 July.

However, in an email leaked to Roll On Friday, senior partner Jennie Gubbins outlined the firm would make a final decision on whether salary reviews would go ahead during the firm’s September management board meeting which will take place on the 15th. Gubbins added she was ‘hopeful’ salary rises would go through at that time.

Salaried partners, however, had their pay reviews completed in March with pay increases going through in April.

Trowers posted mixed results for the 2015/16 financial year. Total revenues jumped 8% to £85.6m, up from £79.4m the year before, but profits per equity partner (PEP) dropped by 8% to £310,000 from £336,000 the year prior. The firm’s topline benefited from a combination with Devon-based Stones Solicitors, which it announced in September 2015. Stone Solicitors had an annual turnover of about £5m.

Following the vote to leave the EU, in July Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) became the first law firm to freeze pay for its UK staff. The move affects all UK-based staff apart from partners who take a share of the profits. Reviews were postponed for four months with pay reviews set to go ahead in November.

Addleshaw Goddard and Gowling WLG followed suit, with Addleshaws announcing it would delay both salary reviews for staff and its annual review of fixed profit share for salaried partners. The firm has also postponed the next profit distribution for equity partners. Addleshaws’ staff bonuses for last year’s performance, however, will still be paid out in September. Gowling WLG also confirmed it will delay its 2016 salary review until the autumn, but added that bonus payments were paid as usual in the July payroll and summer promotions had gone ahead as planned.

In the most drastic move in the wake of the Brexit vote yet, Simmons & Simmons laid off lawyers in its London office following the vote but has refused to comment on the number of redundancies. Banking and real estate are two practices known to be affected. The redundancies followed a 10% slump in PEP in 2015/16 to £585,000.

On Wednesday (10 August) Legal Business revealed there has been a total of 319 UK admissions to the Irish Bar in 2016 following the Brexit vote with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Eversheds making up the bulk of applicants.

Legal Business

A tale of two law firms: Charles Russell sees PEP grow 20% as Trowers records dip in profits


Top 50 Legal Business 100 firms Charles Russell Speechlys (CRS) and Trowers & Hamlins have posted mixed results this reporting season, with the former recording a 21% rise in profit per equity partner (PEP) and the latter seeing partner profits fall 7%.

In its first full set of results post-merger, CRS has increased its revenue from £134.5m to £140m, up 4% from 2014/15. Net profit at the firm was up from £25.9m to £31.8m while PEP rose to £393,000 from £325,000, an increase of more than 20%.

The private wealth-focused firm said it had made progress integrating the business following the 2014 merger of Speechly Bircham and Charles Russell, completing its consolidation of all London-based staff at its Fleet Place offices. The firm also expanded its Geneva office with during the year, with three lateral hires which could offer both English and Swiss law advice.

CRS managing partner James Carter said: ‘Whilst the result of the referendum will have an impact on business confidence and the legal market, we are fortunate to have a very broad-based practice which means that we continue to be well positioned to unlock opportunities and benefits for our clients and for our people.’

While Trowers & Hamlins posted total revenues of £85.6m from £79.4m the year before, an 8% increase, PEP at the firm has fallen by 8% to £310,000 from £336,000 the year prior.

The firm’s topline benefited from a combination with Devon-based Stones Solicitors, which it announced in September 2015. Stone Solicitors had an annual turnover of about £5m and had a practice which covered litigation private wealth, real estate, company commercial, and employment.

Trowers & Hamlins has been investing in its UK regional presence in recent years, launching a new Birmingham office in 2011, taking on more office space in Exeter in 2014 and expanding its Manchester office earlier this year.

Legal Business

Trainee retention rates: Herbert Smith, Weil and Trowers release figures


Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), Weil, Gotshal & Manges, and Trowers & Hamlins are the latest firms to publish their trainee retention rates, with HSF recording its third straight score over 90%.

Of a total intake of 35, 33 trainees at HSF received offers, all of which were accepted. This achieves a total retention rate of 94%.

This time last year, the firm retained 39 of 42 trainees, which was a rate of 93%. Meanwhile, 92% of its autumn qualifiers were kept on at the firm, with 34 out of 37 accepting offers.

Elsewhere in the City, Weil Gotshal has announced a perfect 100% retention rate, with its smaller intake of three trainees to remain at the firm. This is the American firm’s second perfect score in a row after it retained all nine of its autumn 2015 qualifiers.

Trowers is retaining 88% of its qualifiers in this round. This includes seven of the eight trainees qualifying this spring, plus former trainee Jack Frier who qualified ahead of schedule as his previous work experience made him applicable for a shorter training contract.

This month’s announcement is encouraging for Trowers, as 12 months ago the firm reported an 82% retention figure when it kept on nine of 11 qualifiers. This was followed by an even more disappointing autumn 2015, when five out of seven trainees or 71% accepted NQ positions.

This post originated from our sister website Lex 100, which is continually updating its trainee retention table as results arrive.


Legal Business

Trowers & Hamlins unites with Devon firm as part of regional push


Trowers & Hamlins has combined with Devon based Stones Solicitors to create a firm with turnover of about £85m, in a deal to boost its regional presence in the UK.

The firm, which will have almost 800 people, will continue to be known as Trowers & Hamlins, except in Exeter where the firm will be known as Trowers & Hamlins incorporating Stones Solicitors, for two years after the deal.

Stone Solicitors has an annual turnover of about £5m and a practice which covers litigation, private wealth, real estate, company commercial, and employment.

Trowers & Hamlins has been growing its regional presence in recent years, launching a new Birmingham office in 2011, taking on more space in Exeter in 2014 and expanding its Manchester office earlier this year. Together the firm’s regional offices have more than 90 fee earners, including 21 partners.

Jennie Gubbins, Trowers & Hamlins’ senior partner, commented: ‘This merger will allow us to build on the successes of our existing Exeter offering. It positions us to grow our regional presence and reputation in the South West region and to build on our existing real estate offering there, in particular helping us to broaden out from our social housing and public sector heritage.’

Gubbins said for the first time the firm will be able to offer corporate and private wealth expertise from a regional base.

Adrian Richards, Stones’ chief executive officer added: ‘This is a very exciting development for both our firms and we are looking forward to taking advantage of the opportunities this merger will provide for our clients, as well as our lawyers and staff.’

Trowers & Hamlins employs 124 partners and over 700 staff with offices in London, Manchester, Exeter and Birmingham as well as four in the Middle East.

In July the firm posted revenues of £79.4m for the 2014/15 financial year – up on last year but still down 11% on a five year view. Net profit also improved, coming in 8% up at £19.5m – though this was slower than the growth in 2013/14 when net income shot up 15% from £15.8m to £18.1m.

The increase was down to an improving UK picture with fee income from its national offering of £64.7m, an increase of 5.5% from £61.3m the previous year. The firm’s international offices, mainly located in the Middle East, saw turnover drop 7.5% to £14.7m from £15.9m.

Legal Business

City moves: Simmons builds construction team with Trowers’ disputes partner


Partner exits continue to mount in Trowers & Hamlins’ construction practice as City-based construction disputes partner Rob Horne moves on to join Simmons & Simmons.

Horne leaves Trowers after spending more than a decade at the firm having joined in January 2005 after working as an assistant at Addleshaw Goddard from 2000 to 2005. He also worked at the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators for eight years.

He has experience in construction, engineering and infrastructure disputes, as well as international and domestic arbitration, litigation, adjudication and mediation. Horne comes recommended in The Legal 500 both for rail and international arbitration.

In his new role, he will work closely with construction partners James Pollock and Navneet Juty in London to expand the practice’s construction dispute resolution and avoidance offerings.

Simmons international construction group head Richard Dyton said: ‘Rob’s expertise will greatly enhance opportunities for our clients and our current offering in construction and, as part of our energy and infrastructure sector focus, complement experience across our international team.’

The hire comes after the firm’s former M&A partner Matt Rees left Simmons to join Proskauer Rose in April, and after Squire Patton Boggs hired its acquisition finance partner John Hayward at the beginning of the year.

However, Trowers has seen its share of partner exits too including former head of Bahrain construction Paula Boast who returned to Charles Russell Speechlys as its Middle East head of construction in May, after spending almost nine years at Trowers’ Bahrain office. This came after head of UAE Abdullah Mutawi, and fellow partner and international disputes resolution chief Lucas Pitts, exited the firm in March to join Baker Botts’ corporate and disputes practice in Dubai.

Last week, Trowers revealed its 2014/15 financials which saw improving UK revenue help the firm to a 3% turnover growth rate after international offices’ income fell 7.5% from £15.9m to £14.7m. Profitability performed better with net profit up 8% to £19.5m.

Legal Business

Trowers UK revenues support 3% turnover growth as international offering goes into reverse


UK top-50 firm Trowers & Hamlins has recovered from the mixed set of financial results last year but is yet to match previous form as the firm posted revenues of £79.4m for the 2014/15 financial year – up on last year but still down 11% on a five year view.

Net profit at the nine-office firm was also improved, coming in 8% up at £19.5m – though this was slower than the growth in 2013/14 when net income shot up 15% from £15.8m to £18.1m.

The increase in profit comes on the back of growing global revenue which was up 3% from £77.2m to £79.4m after falling 1% in 2013/14. However, the increase was down to an improving UK picture with fee income from its national offering of £64.7m, an increase of 5.5% from £61.3m the previous year. The firm’s international offices, mainly located in the Middle East, saw turnover drop 7.5% to £14.7m from £15.9m.

Profit per equity partner (PEP) at the 310-lawyer firm increased by 4% to £336,000 from £323,000 last year when PEP grew 6%  after it dropped 37% to £304,000 in 2012/13.

Trowers’ highest earning equity member was awarded £466,000, while the lowest took home £186,000. Some 19 partners are at the top of the equity at the firm.

The real estate practice was singled out as the star performer of the year and generated 46% of the firm’s overall turnover. Some 27% of firmwide revenue came from its corporate practice, followed by 15% from disputes, 7% from finance and 5% from other areas.

The figures comes as the firm’s former head of Bahrain construction Paula Boast returned to Charles Russell Speechlys as its Middle East head of construction in May this year, and after the firm lost a management duo to Baker Botts in Dubai earlier this year.