The office opened in January 2002 with 17 staff. Current figures are 53 staff, including 11 partners, representing an increase of 260 per cent.
Managing partner of the Manchester office Chris Lumsden said: “We've hit all our targets so far with a margin of safety. From a personal point of view it's going very well, and the partnership generally is very pleased with it.”
The firm, which opened in serviced office accommodation, moved to a permanent base in May 2002, taking 13,000sq ft in The Chancery on Spring Gardens, in the heart of the city's central business district.
It targeted finance, private equity, corporate recovery and dispute resolution upon opening, and has since added an HR capability, comprising pensions and employment law.
Lumsden let it be known that there are also plans to develop a property practice. “We're in the market for a good property team, but I don't want to be too specific, as if somebody good comes along with support from the marketplace then we're not terribly fussy, provided it fits our game plan of being a full-service office in the medium term. Certainly, we aim to be a much bigger force in Manchester than we are currently,” he said.
Currently, the firm's Leeds-based property team is advising clients in the North West. It is advising Wilson Bowden on the controversial £80m Kingsway Partnership scheme for the Kingsway Business Park development in Rochdale, and in March 2003 it advised Shepborough Development Company on the £10m sale of part of the former Agecroft colliery site in Salford.
In January, the Manchester banking team advised NM Rothschild & Sons, working in conjunction with Five Arrows Commercial Finance, on a £10m term loan and invoice discounting facility. It also recently advised Barclays Leveraged Finance on the provision of a £14m facility for the management buyout of the NCC Group, formerly part of the National Computing Centre.
Notable lateral hires in Manchester include corporate partners Mike McGrath and Simon Masters from Addleshaw Booth & Co and corporate recovery partners Philip Coates and Jamie White from DLA.
Lower down, it has boosted its junior ranks with four new arrivals since January 2003, including Daniel Liptrott from Addleshaws' corporate finance team.