Ramsdens, the largest law firm in Kirklees and Calderdale, is known locally as a high street firm with a commercial bias.
In other words, it is a firm that has been serving the needs of the local community since 1875, whether that is small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), larger organisations or individuals.
But Ramsdens has a game plan, one that has seen it almost triple its total revenue over the past five years. And last year it bulked up its office in Halifax with the acquisition of local firm Rice Jones.
The deal, which saw two partners and eight fee-earners join Ramsdens, was the latest of around half a dozen smaller mergers and acquisitions the firm has managed in the past five years. Although turnover was flat last year, and it is too conservative to be heading off on an acquisition spree now, Ramsdens is certainly looking to grow.
The firm’s geographic positioning and spread, which has Huddersfield at its core, is one of its biggest selling points. Managing partner Paul Joyce not only admits that the firm is not looking to compete directly with the larger commercial firms in cities such as Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield, he argues that this is one of the firm’s key strengths.
“We’ll go to the edge of all the big cities in the region but don’t want to open there to compete with the bigger players where the competition is fierce,” says Joyce. “The area around Kirklees and Calderdale up to Wakefield has a higher GDP than Leeds - there’s lots of industry and SMEs and no presence from the regional players.”
That potential client base, Joyce argues, regularly generates good quality instructions for the firm in areas such as property and litigation. The geography also provides a handy selling point to lawyers looking for an escape from commuting hell.
“There are a lot of young lawyers in the region who are fed up with commuting and looking to work locally,” adds Joyce. “We can offer similar work, shorter hours and not dissimilar money. If you can get people through the door they realise there’s good quality work here.”
Managing partner: Paul Joyce Turnover: £6m Number of partners: 13 Number of equity partners: Five Number of lawyers: 33 Number of fee-earners: 41 Number of offices: Six Locations: Edgerton, Elland, Halifax, Holmfirth, Huddersfield, Slaithwaite Main practice areas: Commercial litigation, commercial property, matrimonial, private client Clients: Attik UK, Thornhill Estates, Peakdale Molecular, the Earth Collection - BCC United Kingdom