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Tim Sadka, managing partner of West Sussex practice Rawlison Butler, uses a boxing metaphor to sum up his sense of the firm. “We punch well above our weight,” he claims. Proudly, he quotes testimonials from clients praising the way in which he and his colleagues deliver a City service. Indeed, with its expansionist drive, Rawlison Butler looks well placed to be going toe-to-toe with national heavyweights in a short while.
“We’re on a recruitment drive, aiming to grow the business over next two to three years,” says Sadka. “We’re looking to achieve a headcount of over 100 total staff and add on three to four partners. We’re expanding across the board and looking for judicious lateral hires.”
With more than 100 years of history, the firm reinvented itself in the late 1980s with a strategic decision to base its head office in Crawley. Location, as Sadka explains, counts for a lot. “There are many advantages in being proximate to Gatwick and the M25 and M23 road networks,” he says. “It’s brought us international clients and has also helped with recruitment.” And on top of that, “it’s a nice part of the world where you can have an active and interesting business life with a family life”.
The firm has a diverse client base, with a strong South East bias, as well as a best friends relationship with a number of US firms. Core areas of expertise are in company/commercial, employment, private client and commercial litigation. Sadka himself heads up the corporate finance and commercial department. He says he aims to bring “a realistic and forthright approach” to his work.
The firm regularly advises on management buyouts (MBOs) and outsourcing, public issues and takeovers. It recently advised on the MBO at Aquadart, a company which makes shower encasements and doors. Another well-known commercial client is Suzuki. “We advise them from time to time on their racing activities,” says Sadka, adding that the firm has increasingly found itself occupied by sports law issues.
Sadka is particularly proud of his employment team, which is led by the highly-regarded Louise Dabbs. “We’ve set up a chat room for the discussion of employment issues,” he says. “We think this is a first. The people participating are very focused HR professionals making general enquiries about the law. They regard the sessions as part of their training. Attendance levels have been very positive and the initiative has been very well received.”
In keeping with its avowedly modern image, Rawlison Butler uses state-of-the-art IT systems, enabling remote access for fee-earners. Partner-led teams “regularly measure their performance against clients’ expectations” and endeavour “to focus on delivering timely solutions”, the underlying drive being “to be the firm of first choice in our chosen markets”, according to Sadka.
But Sadka’s management-speak has a softer and catchier side. “We’re a dynamic, young and friendly practice,” he claims. “There’s a good atmosphere here. Part of our vision is that we’re not standing still – we recognise that the legal marketplace is changing. To be successful in the 21st century you can’t be a 20th century firm.”
Total number of partners
Total number of lawyers
Main practice areas
Commercial litigation, corporate/commercial, employment and private client