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Mills & Reeve's 10-partner Birmingham practice is on course for a record year. Turnover is up 65 per cent at the end of February, the three-quarter mark of the 63-partner firm's financial year
According to office managing partner Guy Hinchley, firmwide turnover is expected to reach £32m, a rise of around 16 per cent. Last year, it increased by just 2 per cent to £27.7m, while profits per partner rose by 10 per cent to £169,000 across the firm's four offices in Birmingham, Cambridge, Norwich and London.
Hinchley said: "We're heading for a considerable increase in turnover across the whole firm. While 65 per cent growth for this office isn't sustainable in the long term, we're expecting healthy growth rates for the next two or three years, particularly with the public law, property and new corporate teams."
The Birmingham office, established in 1998, set up a corporate finance team at the beginning of this year with the recruitment of corporate partner Tim Winn, formerly of Garretts and Edge Ellison. He will be joined later this month by corporate assistant Gary Smith, who is joining on 14 April from Wragge & Co, with further growth expected later in the year.
"Corporate was the most glaring gap in our practice here," said Hinchley. "I kept getting asked about who our corporate people were in Birmingham. It's just not the same telling potential clients we have a team in Cambridge as it is having one locally. We felt we had to have a presence here, and there seems to be demand in the marketplace."
The commercial team was also boosted in December with a major partner hire in the form of Eversheds' commercial property partner Mike O'Sullivan, bringing with him some high-profile clients including Miller Construction, Midland and City Developments, and Coltham.
The Cambridge-based banking and finance department, established in 2001 in the wake of the loss of key clients the National Health Service Litigation Authority and CGNU, has also had some notable success, most recently with its appointment to the Bank of Ireland's national legal panel in February, covering acquisition finance, property lending and PFI funding.
In marked contrast to the troubles at some City firms, Mills & Reeve has offered positions to and expects to retain 100 per cent of its second-year trainees qualifying in September 2003.