The Clerkenwell firm added £2m to its turnover in 2009-10 from £19.5m to £21.5m, with increases in billings across the litigation groups.
“Criminal/regulatory exceeded budget, clinical negligence exceeded budget, and employment exceeded budget,” says managing partner Linda Woolley, herself a criminal regulatory specialist. Corporate work accounted for £2.4m, property for £1.9m and family/private client for £1.9m.
Criminal/regulatory work remains the lynchpin of the practice - part of the heritage left by firm founder Sir David Napley, one of the most renowned fraud lawyers of the past few decades. However, the work profile has changed over the past decade, with legal aid work now accounting for only one per cent of the criminal/regulatory practice.
With 14 partners, criminal regulatory work represents 41 per cent of the business, or £8.8m in turnover. This year’s highlights include partner and head of department Stephen Gentle securing an acquittal for former McDermott partner Michael McFall on an FSA insider dealing case, while partner Stephen Pollard acted for former British Airways commercial director Martin George on the OFT price-fixing case, where charges were eventually withdrawn. The firm has targeted more public law and judicial review work with the hire earlier this year of Adam Chapman, formerly of the Treasury Solicitor’s Department and the Attorney General’s Office.
“It’s drawing on what we already do but giving us more expertise,” says Woolley, pointing out that criminal partner Jonathan Grimes has been representing soldiers and former soldiers who are witnesses in the Baha Mousa public inquiry.
The second growth area has been claimant clinical negligence, headed by Kate Rohde. That has been underlined by investment in well-regarded lateral hires such as Dr Jock Mackenzie from Leigh Day and Stephanie Code, former clinical negligence head at Charles Russell. The third is employment, in which Kingsley Napley is winning a growing reputation for advising City institutions, including magic circle firms, on employment
Managing partner: Linda Woolley
Number of partners: 41
Number of lawyers: 90
Number of fee-earners: 137
Number of offices: One
Main practice areas: Criminal regulatory, clinical negligence, public law, employment, private client/family, corporate, property
Clients: Health Professions Council, News Corporation, JD Wetherspoon, magic circle law firms