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Collyer Bristow can trace its roots back 250 years and is still located in the traditional heart of the London legal world, yet claims to have a thoroughly modern outlook.
This might help explain why the firm’s office at 4 Bedford Row is home to a contemporary art gallery displaying modern sculptures and paintings with titles such as Jigsaw of The Grain of A Piece Of Wood, and You’ve Got to Spread Your Light Like Blazes Across the Sky.
Senior partner John Saner believes the firm’s modern approach is evidenced by the fact that over the past year media law has become central to the firm’s future strategy.
Last year the firm hired reputation management specialists Dominic Crossley and Rhory Robertson. This was followed last month with the arrival of media law and IP partner Kate Macmillan from West End media boutique Gallant Macmillan, along with solicitor Annsley Merelle Ward.
Macmillan’s brand protection practice combines reputation management and IP, working with clients such as Boris Berezovsky, Ken Bates, Kevin Keegan and celebrity photographer Peter Brandt. It is an area the firm is keen to expand.
Turnover in the 2009-10 financial year stood at £13.6m, the same as the previous year, while average profit per equity partner also remained flat at £235,000. The firm is traditionally known for its private client and family practice and, according to Saner, this held up well during the recession.
Litigation is one of the firm’s biggest areas, accounting for £4.8m of turnover. Property is another key practice and, although the market has struggled in recent years, the firm has seen an uptick in instructions from wealthy overseas individuals interested in the London property market.
The firm’s Geneva office focuses primarily on corporate transactions, but it is also looking to build up its private client offering in the region.