London firm Bindmans has been much in the news this year, winning a number of instructions relating to the News of the World (NoW) phone-hacking scandal and having its contact details passed out to London rioters.
While the firm was unwittingly drawn into the latter debacle by far-left blog The Third Estate, which told prospective rioters to note down its number in case of arrest, criminal work makes up a large part of its turnover at 27 per cent. Human rights is another mainstay, also accounting for 27 per cent of firmwide revenue.
The bulk of the firm’s work sees its lawyers act for individuals, but CEO Andrew Thomson says Bindmans is becoming more commercially minded.
“This is because of the nature of the clients we deal with in our employment and family practices,” he explains. “They’re becoming more international – we have large employers coming to us now.”
Practically everything the firm handles is contentious and partner Tamsin Allen has ensured herself a ringside seat in what is expected to be one of the highest-profile hearings of 2012. She is representing public figures including MP Tessa Jowell and former deputy prime minister John Prescott in connection with phone-hacking and has coordinated a raft of firms representing alleged victims ahead of a joint hearing on the issue. Five lead claimants taking action against NoW publisher News International will appear at the January 2012 hearing.
In the 2010-11 financial year the firm turned over £7.6m. While its official average profit per equity partner stood at £271,000, in reality it was lower because equity partners give up a proportion of their distributions so all staff can be awarded a bonus.
The firm has three classes of partner – fixed-share, equity and senior – with only the latter two contributing capital. Where partners sit within these categories is decided by a committee led by non-lawyer Thomson.
CEO: Andrew Thomson
Number of partners: 15
Number of lawyers: 46
Number of fee-earners: 64
Number of offices: One
Main practice areas: Criminal, human rights, employment
Key clients: Amnesty International, The Badger Trust, Corus, International Planned Parenthood Foundation, National Union of Journalists, The Law Society