The Lawyer Africa Elite 2014 features an in-depth look at 46 leading independent firms’ strategies in 15 key sub-Saharan jurisdictions, as well as the views of in-house counsel from some of Africa’s largest companies... Read more
This year, The Lawyer’s annual ranking of the largest UK law firms by turnover is available as an interactive, digital benchmarking tool. For the first time this will allow you to manipulate each data set against the metrics of your choice.
Keystone Law" class="inline_image inline_image_left" src="/pictures/web/images/15733_P7_keystone.jpg" />Despite the economic downturn straining many firms, the regenerated Keystone Law is in full swing.
“There’s so much happening,” says managing partner James Knight. “We’re growing quicker than we ever have and we’re looking for more staff. Even commercial property is growing quickly. ”
Formerly Lawyers Direct, the firm changed its name to Keystone Law in May 2008. “It was misconstrued – people thought we had something to do with personal injury,” explains Knight. “It had connotations of cheapness and that is, clearly, not something we’re trying to convey.”
Knight says the name change has affected the way the firm is perceived, prompting a domino effect. “It was a spring clean. Bigger clients wanted to see conventional support and the solicitors wanted to get the flexibility and freedom they’ve been looking for. Structurally we haven’t changed, but we’ve made various changes in technology, the website and a more sophisticated telephone system, for example.”
These internal and external alterations have paid off in terms of Keystone’s achievements. “We’ve become the first law firm to be awarded the Carbon Trust Standard,” says Knight, adding that the firm has significantly reduced its carbon footprint and is committed to making further CO2 reductions.
The coming year will see Keystone Law open a new department focusing on corporate recovery and insolvency. The department will initially be staffed by four solicitors with specialist experience of this area, including Paul Harris, the former head of insolvency at Irwin Mitchell.
“I’ve only just been given the green light that this will definitely happen,” adds Knight.
Keystone Law is keen to establish itself as a firm that has a professional but still sociable work environment.
“Essentially, we’re about providing extremely good legal services but not about working 18 hours a day,” Knight says. “Our firm culture attracts a certain type of person. The social aspect is great and everyone gets to know each other very well. With clients, we prefer to have physical, face-to-face contact. It’s important to us. We believe in a hands-on ethos.”