A new office and a place on Barclays' panel sees Matthew Arnold expanding
In July, Watford-based Matthew Arnold & Baldwin moved into a 1,600sq ft four-storey open-plan office. It might not be Canary Wharf, but it is a long way from the previous five small offices spread across three Victorian buildings. The new premises, along with a new logo and corporate identity, is expected to promote the 100-year-old firm in the commercial market. Clients already include Barclays, Allied Irish Bank, Saracens Rugby Football Club, Pinnacle Computer Systems and Equity Marketing. Managing partner Steven Mills says: "It's quite a radical change for us, coming from an old Victorian building where everybody had their own dusty room. It's the facilities that have impressed people and we really do look the commercial outfit that we think we are." The new Station Road offices house all of the firm's departments. The firm has 115 employees, including 18 partners. Turnover is forecast at just under £7m for this year, having doubled in the past three years. Recent recruits are Adrian Hyde and Alistair Bacon, both partners heading the insolvency department, who joined the firm at the beginning of the year. Hyde came from Denton Wilde Sapte and Bacon from Sinclair Roche & Temperley. They replace Gavin Jones who left to go to Halliwell Landau in Manchester. Joint head of company commercial Chris Green is keen to recruit from industry: "We believe in recruiting lawyers who understand business. A key to our success has been in hiring top staff who have in-house expertise." Hires this year include Karen Jones who has joined the IT/commerce team from Cable & Wireless and Susan Lee from TotalFina Elf. Company commercial and commercial litigation are the largest departments, accounting for 50 per cent of the firm's turnover. The firm is on the Barclays business support and debt recovery panel along with DLA, Hill Dickinson, Salans Hertzfeld & Heilbronn and TLT. The panel was reviewed in 1999 and the next review is due in 2002. "[Being on this panel] is certainly a marketing advantage and we're adding other banks to the list," says Mills. These include Bank of Ireland and Bank of Scotland. Matthew Arnold is a member of Eurojuris International, which provides referrals and a network of expertise across 20 countries. This was utilised when the firm acted for the Media Vehicle Group in a deal which saw 30 per cent of its issued share capital acquired by Clear Channel. Company commercial partner Jerry Golland says: "The transaction was unusual in that Clear Channel wanted to take advantage of the corporate venturing scheme made available in the Finance Act 2000." The plan is to expand further, with new offices expected in the next three years.