Jeremy Shulman started up Shulmans Solicitors 25 years ago as a corporate and commercial boutique.
Shulman is now the Leeds-based firm’s chairman and has led it with managing partner Tim Halstead for almost as long. Halstead has been with the firm almost since its birth, when he was still a young solicitor.
Indeed, in many ways Shulmans is a decidedly traditional firm.
It has just nudged into the radar of The Lawyer’s UK 200 list, at position 184 with a turnover of around £7.5m, an increase of 18 per cent on the previous year, and its focus lies in commercial property work.
The firm has built up a successful niche dealing in residential development for many of the UK’s leading housebuilders, including Barratt Homes, Bellway, David Wilson Homes and Persimmon Homes.
The practice area split lies with around 50 per cent making up commercial property, 17 per cent corporate commercial work, 18 per cent litigation and, like many firms in the region, volume conveyancing work, which makes up around 15 per cent.
Shulmans employs around 150 staff and takes on around three trainees a year, who are recruited mainly from a regional pool, although the firm does travel to law fairs in Manchester and Sheffield in its search for candidates.
The firm aims to offer recruits high-quality clients, high-profile work and “profitability that compares favourably to the top 100 firms” – although Halstead will not be drawn on figures.”[Profitability] is a really important factor for those who don’t quite believe that there’s life outside the biggest firms,” Halstead says. However, he insists that all these draws are married to “a successful balance to a life outside”.
Halstead says he puts a lot of effort into making Shulmans a pleasant place to work, giving new starters details of the way in which profit is shared, coupled with a clear set of criteria for advancing their careers.
In keeping with tradition, however, the changing of the guard is unlikely to be happening anytime soon. Halstead still has an appetite for his job and Shulman is expected to continue in his role as chairman for a number of years yet.
Managing partner: Tim Halstead
Chairman: Jeremy Shulman
Number of partners: 12
Number of equity partners: 9
Number of lawyers:44
Key clients: Persimmon Homes, HBOS, Barratt Homes, Evans Property Group, York City Council, St James Securities
Main practice areas: Commercial property, corporate, employment, commercial litigation, volume conveyancing
Number of offices: One