Mayo Wynne Baxter

Chris Randall

Chris Randall

Since the tie-up, which was a merger of equals born out of the need to target non-commoditised business streams, the firm has been busy ­developing several of its specialist niche areas ­alongside the more traditional practices found in most regional firms.

One of those niches is travel litigation, an area that was created after the firm hired two partners from rival ASB Law a year ago.

One of the partners, Lee Hills, was formerly head of the liability insurance department and travel ­sector team at ASB. The other, Alan Larkin, has been instrumental in strengthening Mayo Wynne’s already solid family team.

“We’re also in the process of setting up a leisure and hospitality group which fits very well with the IT, media and travel client base we already have,” says managing partner Chris Randall. “In the Brighton office in particular there’s a lot of work surrounding the creative industries.”

One area of work that Randall believes will be ­particularly fruitful is in relation to local authorities outsourcing their leisure facilities to trusts on a national basis. “We’ve been advising all the various parties in those deals across a wide geographical area recently,” he adds.

Another niche practice area that the firm ­recently created is ­advising on French property deals, thanks to one of its lawyers having spent time as an estate agent in France.
“We’re starting to see the benefit of these ­specialist areas,” claims Randall, who adds he is ­confident that this year turnover will exceed 2008-09’s £9.2, which was an 8 per cent drop on 2007-08’s £10m.

Randall will have to wait until March next year to be sure. In the meantime, his firm has another claim to fame. Back in 1888, the firm’s founder Wynne Edwin Baxter was the coroner who conducted the inquests into the victims of Jack the Ripper. Two years later he performed the same function for Joseph Carey Merrick, aka the Elephant Man.

Now that’s what you call a niche.

Managing partner: Chris Randall
Turnover: £9.2m
Number of partners: 30
Number of equity partners: 19
Number of lawyers: 65
Number of fee-earners: 80
Number of offices: Five
Locations: Brighton, ­Eastbourne, Hailsham, Lewes, Seaford
Main practice areas: ­Property, probate, trusts and wills, litigation, family, ­commercial, clinical ­negligence