Regional/Offshore Firm of the Year
This award highlights the UK-based regional or offshore firm (with headquarters outside of London) that has made the most significant progress over the past year in advancing its strategy. Key factors taken into account will be evidence of effective leadership, impressive financial performance and increased market share.
Given its substantial investment in new offices and partners during the last financial year, Shoosmiths recent performance is all the more impressive. Revenue was up 9% year-on-year to £116.7m, while profit climbed 17% to £29.4m. All this against the backdrop of a merger with Belfast firm McManus Kearney, which saw the launch of Shoosmiths in Northern Ireland, and the opening of a 17-partner operation in Leeds.
TLT - HIGHLY COMMENDED
Marking 18 years since the merger of Trumps and Lawrence Tucketts to form TLT, this Bristol firm has truly come of age and is an established fixture in the top half of the Legal Business 100. Revenue rose 4% to £74.6m for the 2016/17 financial year, marking its fifth consecutive year of growth, while the top line has grown by around 50% since 2013 when it was £49m, thanks to sustained UK expansion.
This South West firm has another strong year in 2017, posting 13% revenue growth year on year to £40.6m, while a net profit increase of 15% meant profit per equity partner grew 18% to £317,000. Whereas other regional firms have struggled, turnover at Ashfords has risen 69% in the last five years.
In the most recent Legal Business 100, Freeths was identified as one of the fastest-growing firms for organic revenues over the past five years, nearly doubling its turnover from £36.7m in 2012 to £72m in 2017. More impressively, this growth is matched by the performance of PEP over the same time period, where the firm has gone from £249,000 to £479,000, an increase of 92%.
Cardiff-based Geldards has a unique offering that straddles Wales and the Midlands, a combination that has served it well. Year-on-year performance was solid, with an increase in revenue of 7% to £24m, despite a 13% drop in headcount. The firm also saw a double-digit increase in PEP, up 16% to £253,000.
Once viewed as a south-coast also-ran with strong family and personal injury practices, Moore Blatch has evolved into a rounded player in the region, with a business performance to match. Revenues increased by 10% to £24.3m, while PEP was up 8% to £550,000. The increase in profitability has come despite significant investment in personnel and IT of late.