Firm profile: Anthony Collins

Birmingham-based firm Anthony Collins has seen steady growth since its management reshuffle two years ago, culminating in a 6 per cent rise in turnover last year to reach £10m.

Senior partners:

Romaine Thompson, Ian McQuay
Turnover: £10m
Total number of partners: 22
Total number of equity partners: 13
Total number of fee-earners: 103
Main practice areas: Voluntary and public sector, property, dispute resolution, PFI, projects, regeneration, licensing, clinical negligence.
Key clients: Anchor Trust, City Centre Restaurants, Knowsley Housing Trust, Mind, Tearfund
Number of offices: One
Location: Birmingham

Birmingham-based firm Anthony Collins has seen steady growth since its management reshuffle two years ago, culminating in a 6 per cent rise in turnover last year to reach £10m.

The management shake-up, which saw co-senior partners Romaine Thompson and Ian McQuay take over the helm of the firm in 2004, was prompted by the sudden death of the then senior partner Martin Knox.

However, Thompson and McQuay have made a point of carrying on Knox’s hard work and the firm has since thrived.

“It was very difficult at first, which is why we took six months to reflect on what had happened and how to go forward,” Thompson says. “We spent the first 12 months just talking to partners and we’ve been committed to managing by consensus since then.”

Established in 1973, Anthony Collins is firmly based in Birmingham with a large number of its top clients also based in the Midlands. Meanwhile, the firm’s name partner, who retired from the firm just two years ago, retains close ties to the firm, and has stayed on as a consultant.

Thompson said the firm has grown immensely from its humble beginnings.

“When the firm started out it was a one-man operation,” she said. “Now we have well over 100 staff and our turnover has also increased significantly – five years ago it was about £6m.”

During the past year, Anthony Collins converted to limited-liability partnership status and moved to new premises in Edward Street, Birmingham.

The firm has also had a few client wins, most notably the £15m wholesale regeneration of Bentilee Village Centre.

“We’ve had a few changes during the past year,” Thompson says. “We moved into our new offices in December and the open-plan design has made a real difference.”

The firm has established several niche markets on which to capitalise, including social housing, charity work, regeneration and property dispute resolution.

Thompson says the firm has been built up on a foundation of allowing lawyers to pursue their own professional interests.

“Something we have always done here is to encourage our staff to pursue practice areas they’re passionate about,” she says. “This has helped to create niche areas, such as our regeneration practice and social housing.”

This year the firm promoted two senior associates to its partnership, Andrew Millross in the projects group and Hilary Harrison in the commercial dispute resolution group.

“They’re going to bring more strength to the management table,” Thompson says. “Andrew’s a systems and standards man and Hilary has made a huge contribution to the commercial dispute resolution team.”