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Real estate is currently the largest practice area at Hamlins, but if managing partner Nigel Mason gets his way that might not be the case for much longer.
“I’d like to see corporate as big as property and litigation,” says Mason. “If you have three practice areas of a similar size then in any one year the partners in a particular group can be sparkling while those in another may be bumping along the bottom. But two years later that should have turned around.”
Mason knows there is some way to go to achieve his ambition. Real estate currently accounts for around 36 per cent of Hamlins’ turnover, while contentious work generates some 45 per cent of total revenue.
Indeed, the property group recently grew when Hamlins hired former Kanter Jules partner Joe Holder, who joined from Ellistons Solicitors. The firm also brought in former Memery Crystal corporate partner Daniel Bellau as a partner 14 months ago.
“Corporate and commercial is where we need to beef it up,” admits Mason.
Mason, who is four years into his second stint as managing partner, having performed the role 15 years ago, says the firm is in a good position to invest in strengthening core areas such as corporate, which currently has three partners and two associates.
Hamlins has no debt and relatively low overheads at its central London (Regent Street) office.
“Being debt-free is a fantastic position to be in in the current environment. And with our senior partner rates ranging from around £300 to £360 per hour, we can really offer clients value for money,” says Mason.
He adds that the keys to Hamlins success are stability and continuity. The last time an equity partner left was in 1991.
“We don’t want to prejudice that stability just to get some growth,” he says.
Firm: Hamlins Solicitors
Managing Partner: Nigel Mason
Number of partners: 17
Number of equity partners: 11
Number of lawyers: 25
Number of fee-earners: 45
Total staff: 73
Main practice areas: Company and commercial, dispute resolution, employment, IP, lender services, music and entertainment, real estate
Clients: LloydsTSB, London & Regional Properties, NCP Car Parks, New Look Retailers, McDonald’s, Santander