Managing partners: Philip D’Arcy and Nick Burrows
Total number of partners: 15
Total number of fee-earners: 44
Main practice areas: Employment, dispute resolution, company/commercial, property/ planning, licensing, private client
Key clients: Wembley, Connexions, Sunlight, University of Reading, Reading Borough Council
Number of offices: One
Thames Valley firm Blandy & Blandy has a long and proud tradition in law, but since the start of the millennium, the firm has really hit its stride. Turnover has doubled to more than £5m since 2000, surpassing the expectations of its senior management, and the firm is now expecting the same again.
Co-managing partner Philip D’Arcy says: “We haven’t thought another five years ahead yet, but I see no reason we shouldn’t [double our turnover again]. We remain committed to growth and in this environment you have to be getting bigger to maintain profitability.”
The firm has also grown its fee-earning staff by 70 per cent to 44 since 2000, and added 66 per cent more partners.
“The key to our growth has been a twin strategy of focusing on developing our traditional areas of practice and establishing a reputation in certain niche areas,” says D’Arcy.
Additionally, the firm introduced a new management structure earlier this year, with the appointment of dispute resolution partner D’Arcy and corporate partner Nick Burrows as co-managing partners. They split the managing partner duties and both remain very heavily involved in fee-earning activity.
Under the old system, senior partner Richard Griffiths was appointed to his position in 1993 based on his length of service. Under the new system, when Griffiths steps down, his successor will have to be elected.
Blandys’ traditional strength has been in private client areas, especially related to family matters, but it has now introduced a fully fledged financial advice service, providing tax planning and wealth and estate management advice from the financial side to coincide with the legal capability of the firm.
“We have recently reviewed the market and the way we deliver within it. We want to move away from making a distinction between private and commercial clients, and more closely integrate our services,” says D’Arcy.
“We will still have specialist teams, but with a market-sector focus.”
The employment practice is another that has been targeted for growth, with a further three fee-earners to be added to in the near future, bringing the total team to 10.
“A lot of our growth has been lateral,” says D’Arcy. “We’re looking for more organic growth now, but we’re always open to suitable lateral hires.”
Specifically, the firm is keeping a keen eye out for bolt-on possibilities. “We’re very interested at looking at them, whether they are a smaller firm or a department,” says D’Arcy.