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Thames Valley firm Blandy & Blandy has survived tougher things than the recession during its 275-year history.
In 1943 the firm’s Reading office was hit by a bomb dropped by German pilots returning home following an air raid on London. Blandy came through the bombing and has since evolved into a modern firm servicing both private and commercial clients.
Blandy’s joint managing partners, Philip D’Arcy and Nick Burrows, who were elected into their positions in 2006, say the past 18 months have been tough, but that the firm is starting to see the beginnings of an economic recovery.
“It’s been an interesting time,” D’Arcy comments. “It started off with growth and expansion and then everything completely changed.”
At the 2008-09 year-end turnover was down by 5 per cent to £6.1m from £6.4m. This slight dip came after several consecutive years of steady growth. During the past financial year work has started to return.
“So far this year billings have been up by 2 per cent,” says Burrows. “It’s positive movement. Business per fee-earner is also up by 12 per cent.”
The recovery has been stilted in some areas, notably corporate and commercial, but for other practices growth has surged. For instance, the planning and environmental practice has grown by 20 per cent in the past year and the firm recently recruited solicitor Rosalind Prue from East Midlands firm Roythornes. It also added two newly qualified lawyers, Claire Burton and Jessica Reid, to its family and private client practice in September.
The firm’s history has been dominated by private client work, but more recently it has diversified and built up a mix of clients across key sectors - commercial, private client, third sector and private sector. It is this diversity that has helped it survive the economic downturn. That, and fewer bombs.
Co-managing partners: Philip D’Arcy, Nick Burrows Turnover: £6.1m Number of partners: 16 Number of equity partners: 14 Number of lawyers: 40 Number of fee-earners: 55 Number of offices: One Location: Reading Main practice areas: Charities and third sector, commercial, employment, private client, private sector Clients: Ascot, Connexions, Reading Borough Council, University of Reading, Wembley Stadium