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In the heart of Gloucestershire, niche firm Rickerbys is busy recruiting. The 20-partner outfit specialises in commercial and private client work, capitalising on its community relationships to win new clients.
"A lot of our private client work comes through recommendations from other professions in the area," says managing partner Anne Compton.
The firm organises seminars with other businesses in the area to keep local small to medium-sized enterprises up-to-speed with ongoing legislative changes. Compton says this helps to build relationships with local professionals, who will later recommend the firm to clients.
Compton has been with Rickerbys since 1990, when the firm focused predominantly on private client work. She became managing partner two years ago.
The firm has six partners in the private client practice, which is expected to feed work through to the commercial practice, and it has grown its commercial practice from two partners in 1990 to 14 today.
"There's a lot of overlap between private client and the commercial practice," says Compton. "We deliberately adopted that strategy. It's very important that no part of the firm feels like the poor relation."
Rickerbys considers itself a regional firm, with clients in Cornwall, Bristol, Cardiff and Birmingham. It positions itself in geographical areas where it feels there is limited competition and where it can build community relationships.
Local clients include Lloyd's TSB, Gloucestershire Police Authority and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary. Commercial clients are won through a tender process, although once won those relationships can span decades.
Rickerbys has recently rebranded two distinct areas of the firm: Aventus, an investment advisory team, and Equilaw, an equity release advisory team.
In some areas Rickerbys has a national reach. The firm has specialist practices for independent schools and veterinary work. "We began the veterinary practice six years ago and it's grown across the country," says Compton.
It is one area in which the firm would like to recruit. "We're always looking for the right calibre of people and would consider creating positions for those people," says Compton. "We have one or two partnership positions available."
Compton is cautious about the size to which the firm could grow. "Reaching the 200-employee mark will be a big step for us," she says. "We want to maintain the culture that we have and not grow just for growth's sake. There has to be a rationale behind our strategy."
Turnover: £9.2m Total number of partners: 20 Total number of lawyers: 47 Total number of fee-earners: 71 Main practice areas: Private client, commercial Key clients: Gloucestershire Police Authority, Lloyd's TSB, independent schools Number of offices:One Location: Cheltenham Managing partner: Anne Compton