Express Solicitors

Managing partner: James Maxey
Number of partners: Two
Number of fee-earners: 12
Number of offices: One
Location: Manchester
Turnover: £1.8m

For Express Solicitors’ founding partner James Maxey, the name of the law firm was of paramount importance. “I chose the name ’express’ because I wanted to show that we’re a modern law firm,” says Maxey. “We’re not trying to be a traditional high street firm.”

Maxey, who founded the Manchester-based personal injury (PI) firm in 2000, is clear about the firm’s strategy. “For us, specialism is everything,” he says. “It’s not part of our model to be a full-service law firm. While it’s a shame to turn away other sorts of work, it’s profitable for us to remain a niche personal injury firm.

“The beauty of the work that I do is that you can almost not classify it.”

Maxey estimates that around 20 per cent of the firm’s work comes from traffic-related accidents, 40 per cent comes from employer liability incidents “and the rest could be public liability issues”.

Maxey also claims that around 20 per cent of the firm’s work is brought in from word-of-mouth recommendations from either existing clients or other solicitors who do not practise PI work themselves.

Express also has an employment team that provides support to the firm’s PI cases as well as to its standalone employment services to individual clients.

“While the standalone employment work currently plays a smaller part within the firm, we’d be happy to grow this area to further service clients’ demands,” Maxey says.

The firm allocates an annual budget of £250,000 towards marketing, which Maxey says “is a mix of internet advertising, sponsoring football teams and we have an advertising sign on the motorway”.

“We’re also members of InjuryLawyers4U,” he adds.

Maxey says he was attracted to practising PI law because he “wanted to help people”, adding: “We’re helping individual people who are injured and hopefully also increasing safety.”

Express is a corporate member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, which campaigns for legislative changes in areas such as safety at work.

The firm’s strategy includes growing organically, which is expected to culminate in April, when Express will move into newer, larger premises in Manchester.

“The move will allow us to grow organically,” says Maxey. “We’ve tried making lateral recruits in the past, but without a great deal of success.

“Some lawyers have struggled with IT proficiency and have found it hard to adapt to the type of IT system and case management that we have. Clients want things done quickly, so all our paperwork gets scanned in and everyone works with two screens. We’d never say to our client, ’wait here while I get your file’.”