Mills & Reeve eyes UK top 30 place with new four-year plan

Mills & Reeve has embarked on an aggressive four-year plan in which it hopes to buck the downturn and boost turnover by 60 per cent from the present figure of £62.5m.


<a class=Mills & Reeve eyes UK top 30 place with new four-year plan” />Mills ;& ;Reeve ;has embarked on an aggressive four-year plan in which it hopes to buck the downturn and boost turnover by 60 per cent from the present figure of £62.5m.

“We ;think, ;if ;we’re ­successful, that turnover is likely to be £100m by 2012,” says managing partner Guy Hinchley.

The move could potentially propel Mills & Reeve far beyond its current UK 200 ranking of 46. Entry to the 2008 top 30 started with Olswang on £92.9m.

Hinchley explained that, in the 2001 four-year plan, Mills & Reeve was looking for a turnover of £25m with the aim of achieving a well-known brand in the East of England region for advising businesses and their owners, and more widely for insurance, education and the NHS.

In 2004 the firm’s four-year plan aimed to boost turnover by 67 per cent from £36m and increase revenue per partner (RPP) by 39 per cent to £750,000. By the end of Mills & Reeve’s 2007-08 financial year on 31 May, the firm had surpassed its projections with a turnover increase of 70 per cent to £62.5m and an RPP of £758,000.

“It’s territory we’ve been in before, as for growth rate,” said Hinchley, clearly unfazed by the market’s troubles. And in this financial year’s first quarter, turnover is already up by 11 per cent on the last quarter.

Mills & Reeve will home in on six client sectors in a bid to hit its 2012 goal – namely the health sector, higher and further education, regeneration projects, people with significant assets, ;insurance ;and ­professional indemnity.

Areas such as health, education and high-net-worth private client can prove resilient in downturns, with practices such as professional negligence having the potential to positively blossom.

The split between each of the six sectors is almost even, although some of the sector boundaries still have to be fully chiselled out.

“We’re genuinely expecting good growth in all of them,” said Hinchley, adding that ;the ;sector ;focus ­represents a fine-tuning of the previous strategy.

“There’s an increased focus this time around on the ­corporate clients and on regeneration,” he added. “The other areas are things you can probably already recognise at Mills & Reeve. But health was purely public sector before – we’re shifting the focus to have a bit more focus on the private sector side.”

The firm has also recruited heavily. Insurance partner Michael Mitchell is set to join its London insurance team from insurance specialists Vizards Wyeth, where he was head of the London office. He follows Vizards partner Nicolas Oldham, who joined Mills & Reeve in July.

Earlier this year Mills & Reeve opened in Leeds and Manchester after taking on Addleshaw Goddard’s entire North West family law practice (TheLawyer.com, 19 November 2007).

Recruits in Manchester have since included insurance partner Elisabeth Taylor and three lawyers from Halliwells.