Cripps Harries Hall

<a class=Cripps Harries Hall” class=”inline_image inline_image_left” src=”/pictures/web/images/16377_P7_Cripps.jpg” />By winning a seat on the Crossrail panel this year, Cripps Harries Hall has fixed its place at the big ­projects table. The firm began the association after picking up Channel Tunnel organisation HS1, which hands the firm property work at stations along the high-speed railway line.

The South East firm has enjoyed steady growth over the past few years, posting a 2007-08 revenue of £19m, which is up 33 per cent from 2005-06’s £14m. The firm’s headcount has increased from 91 lawyers in 2007 to 126 today (the partnership has remained largely static over this period, with one new addition).

With property-heavy firms taking a bashing over the past six months, 2009 could have been disastrous for Cripps, but the Crossrail win and the firm’s canny roots in public sector departments, including the Office of Government Commerce’s Catalist panel, should mean that the coming 10 months will be easier for Cripps than for other firms in the region.

“We’re surprised at how our institutional property work has held up,” says managing partner Jonathan Denny. “Our blue-chip and central government clients have also been active, but we’ve noticed the recession affecting our developer clients.”

Denny puts the firm’s strong position in part down to a Lovells ‘Mexican wave’ effect, with the larger firm passing Cripps work from its client Prudential for the past five years. This has helped the firm avoid making redundancies and Denny makes it clear he does not intend to start breaking up what he and his partners have built.

“We’ve managed to recruit some excellent people here and it’s our intention to hold on to them,” he says. “We’ve redeployed lawyers, retrained where we can and haven’t replaced those who have left. We’ve traditionally won work out of London by providing a City standard at lower rates.”

Managing partner: Jonathan Denny
Turnover: £19m
Number of partners: 39
Number of equity partners: 25
Number of lawyers: 126
Number of fee-earners: 161
Number of offices: One
Location: Tunbridge Wells
Main practice areas: ­Portfolio property ­(institutional ­property, public sector), ­development (projects), private client, corporate
Clients: British Land, ­Crossrail, Crown Prosecution Service, HS1, Land Securities, Office of Government ­Commerce