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George Davies’ managing partner Mark Hovell describes his firm as a mix of old and new.
He believes this is borne out by the fact that while most of its partners are under 40, it continues to represent a core clientele of family-owned businesses in the North West and remains committed to its traditional values. The firm has been transformed since Hovell joined as a trainee 19 years ago.
“We’ve always had a good work-life balance and a sense of fun, and we haven’t lost that, but we’ve also become much more efficient and business-like,” he says. “We don’t have lawyers who expect work to land on their desks; they roll their sleeves up.”
One development is that fee-earners now have a monthly appraisal to monitor their performance - hardly common practice when the firm was formed 71 years ago.
As well as having a strong corporate and commercial practice, George Davies also has one of the largest private client practices in the North West. Another key area is sports law, a practice that Hovell - a member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport - has helped build up over the past two decades.
The firm’s sports clients include the Professional Footballers’ Association and Rugby Players’ Association, but it recently picked up work from the likes of Manchester City and Sheffield Wednesday football clubs.
Hovell, who has been managing partner since 2007, eagerly promotes the firm’s commitment to “traditional values”. But what exactly are these?
“We’re straight-talking and transparent; we like to think that, as far as possible, our clients can have an enjoyable experience,” says Hovell. “Our approach is, ’if it was my money, this is what I would do’. It’s helped by the fact that we do as much work on a fixed-fee basis as we can, including disputes work.”
Managing partner: Mark Hovell Turnover: £6.2m Number of partners: 14 Number of lawyers: 44 Number of fee-earners: 66 Number of offices: One Location: Manchester Main practice areas: Corporate and commercial, real estate, private client, litigation, employment, insolvency, sport and property, projects and construction Key clients: Hewden Stuart plc, Phoenix, Yearsley Group, Johnsons Group, Stobart Group, Professional Footballers’ Association, Rugby Players’ Association, Court of Arbitration for Sport, Bank of Ireland, Bank of Scotland, Royal Bank of Scotland, North West Collaborative Commercial Agency (NHS Hub), The Manchester College, Bolton Community College