Matthew Arnold & Baldwin (MAB) managing partner Iain Donaldson says his firm began preparing for the current litigation boom long before the recession.
“Litigation was quite clearly the place to be,” he says. “It was screechingly obvious to us.”
Contentious work makes up half of MAB’s turnover, a further 24 per cent is contributed by the property team and 9 per cent by the corporate practice. Lateral hires in 2010 reflect this mix, with the firm recruiting two partners into its litigation practice - Jonathan Sachs from Sprecher Grier Halberstam last October and BP Collins’ former head of litigation Tim Constable in January.
Donaldson says MAB is well-placed to win new clients as in-house counsel scour the market for cheaper legal representation.
“Our clients like to win, but they also like cost-effective methods,” he intones.
The firm has offices in London, Milton Keynes and Watford. The London office is populated mainly by partners, with regional bases home to support staff.
That said, Donaldson explains: “We have a high degree of mobility - people can work wherever they want. That’s helped us in the war for talent.”
He says the office network gives the firm “greater resilience and agility and allows us to tether our cost base”. The office network is supported by an IT network developed by the firm known as the Cube.
“The Cube gives us a sense of community,” he says. “It’s interactive - when you want to know something you go to the Cube. If you pick up a client or are meeting a prospect, you can find out everything you need to know about them on the Cube. It tells you how you’re doing and what to do next.”
The next year, Donaldson says, will bring opportunities to develop further the infrastructure and invest in new partners.
Firm: Matthew Arnold & Baldwin
Managing partner: Iain Donaldson
Number of partners: 29
Number of lawyers: 69
Number of fee-earners: 98
Number of offices: Three
Locations: London, Milton Keynes, Watford
Main practice areas: Corporate, employment, litigation, private client, property
Key clients: Bank of Ireland, Barclays, Elstree Studios, RBS