Categories:North East

DWF loses Newcastle head Flynn in wake of Crutes deal

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  • This may feel brutal, but it's progress for DWF Newcastle.
    Whilst DDees M&A practice has dipped since Flynn left, not very much of that work has turned up at DWF.

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  • "... understood to have encountered integration difficulties ..."

    Where would modern management be without the euphemism ...!

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  • Maybe the step up was too big. It's hard to move to a top 30 law firm from a top 60 practice. The expectations are greater.

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  • Heh - "integration difficulties"
    The move from Dickinson Dees to DWF was too great. Even Flynn admitted they had totally different cultures. I imagine that "integration difficulties" means the ideas he brought from old school Dickinson Dees didn't impress the progressive board at DWF.
    It's a shame as he does have something to offer. I'm sure he'll pop up in the Newcastle legal market again. I'd hazard that it won't be at Dickinson Dees though!

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  • He lasted less than 12 months in post. Something clearly hasn't worked out.
    A natural fit for the ex-Northern Rock job?

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  • Glad this news is out in the open after months of grumbles.

    Onwards and upwards DWF Newcastle.

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  • "........... he [Mr John Flynn] was headhunted by DWF around this time last year............". "This was generally regarded as being something of a coup on the part of DWF". Mr Flynn stated: “Some of the things I bring from Dickinson Dees are very good – a commitment to quality, a belief that you have to do things right, that we don’t make things up as we go along".

    “Andrew Leaitherland said to me [Mr John Flynn]: ‘We are going to grow’. "After he told me how big they were and how fast they had grown, I said to him: ‘Do you know we grow leeks in the North East. We grow great big leeks and they are massive, but they taste awful’ “Andrew laughed at that....."

    I hope you don't mind that I have taken the above quotes from previous articles on another website and not being a Solicitor I hope that it is alright for me to do this. My opinion is that the above quotes illustrates the differences between Leaitherland as DWF's aggresive spokesperson who appears to be solely fixated on profits and Mr John Flynn's wiser and( to my mind) more acceptable approach to progressing a company.

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  • When cultures clash you move on.
    He created a foot hold
    Well done fella

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  • Anon 7:36,

    In my role I've worked with both Dickinson Dees and DWF. In my view Dickinson Dees are the leek in the anology.

    I say this because, from what I've seen, the quality of the work from DWF and the service provided has been superior.

    John Flynn is a lovely guy. I'm not convinced he's wise but he certainly has charisma by the bucket-load.

    He was the star performer at Dickinson Dees. However when he moved to a national law firm he probably didn't measure up when compared to their star performers.

    I can't imagine he enjoyed working in that environment, so it's for the best that he's left - maybe he can dedicate his time to growing some good leeks in his garden?

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  • I cannot think of another legal market in the UK that is as ripe to be taken over by a regional law firm as that in Newcastle / the North-East.
    There's not been any meaningful competition for years. Many deny this but it has had an impact, as demonstrated by the inability of North East firms to translate their market position in Newcastle into other cities.
    Therefore if DWF want to cement their position as the leading firm in the North East, they need to apply the formula that has worked so well in their other offices into this market.

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  • The big mistake Flynn made was alienating the NE leek growers who made up a sizeable proportion of DWF's Geordie client base.

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  • What's all this nonsense about him coming from a small firm and joining a major national, so the cultures didn't fit? The article (and reality) is quite clear:- John left after problems post-merger with Crutes. The Crutes partners used to dream of being as big as Dickinson Dees, their culture was hardly that off a "national firm". It sounds to me like John couldn't hack working with the poor quality of Crutes lawyer he was forced to share a water-cooler with.

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  • Anon 4:38,
    If that was the case, why did he make the decision to merge his North East office of DWF with Crutes? He probably could have merged with any of the North East firms!
    I feel a bit sorry for Johnny Flynn. He should have moved to a big firm a decade ago. Then he might have been able to make a go of it.
    PS, I'm interested to know what your colleagues make of him pretending to be the de facto "Captain" of Dickinson Dees in his "Leek" interview?

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  • In 2012 DWF's turnover rose by 23% (18% taking into account inflation).

    In 2012 Dickinson Dees turnover rose by 1.3% (minus 3.7% taking into account inflation).

    Which begs the question, why the hell would DWF recruit a Dickinson Dees partner to grow their business!

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  • Dear Anon 4.38

    You have written "their culture was hardly that off a 'national firm'".

    Do you work at Dickinson Dees by any chance? You write as if you do.

    Seriously it is a shame he's left the legal market but I'm sure he will continue to make an enormous contribution to the North East business community. He would be the ideal person to represent the interests of local businesses.

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  • Hard lines. However once you appreciate that his role was basically to spot a good merger opportunity in Newcastle and then to integrate the firm into DWF, saying he had "integration difficulties" is pretty damning.
    I don't pay heed to the rumours, they always seem to appear about anyone who has the temerity to leave Dixon Dees. He's just as good as he always was, he just didn't measure up to what a big firm like DWF needs. He'll be back soon. Does anyone know why he still features on the DWF website?

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  • It looks like he either couldn't or forgot to manage upwards. Whatever anyone says, it is a step up to move to a rapidly expanding / high performing firm like DWF.

    The odds were always stacked against him. It was such an odd decision to pluck a manager from Dickinson Dees; especially as he was presumably one of the decision makers in the years when similar firms (Dibb Lupton Allsopp, Addleshaws & Hammonds) became international powerhouses and DDees didn't.

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  • After living the charmed life of being an equity partner at Dickie Dees for 25 years, it must be very tough to have your performance evaluated against the yardstick of a modern, progressive and demanding law firm like DWF. Well done for being brave enough to take the challenge and sorry that those 25 years probably contributed to you not being able to fulfil your ambitions for the office.

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  • The lesson that can be learned from all of this is if your boss tells you to grow the office, don't deliver a parable about a leek.

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  • One of the most popular partners at Dickie Dees, but never a leader nor a corporate figurehead. He was best at saying, after the event, that he would have done it differently.
    You would have expected a major player like DWF to have done their homework. Maybe they have underestimated the work needed to dominate the Geordie market.

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  • I struggle to understand the concept that if you put several average smallish firms together you suddenly have a quality national firm? All sounds a bit like trying to merge Leeds United and Sheffield United to try and come up with a Manchester United! Surely you'd just get a bottom half Championship in terms of quality.

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  • That's because you've failed to consider the role of good judgement in your reasoning.
    The concept behind DWF is to cherry pick the best fee earners in each market. In some cases that involves purchasing a firm with a solid bedrock of clients (typically insurance) and using this as a foothold. It's approximately the same model that DLA Piper used a decade ago.

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  • They should have parachuted in someone who had proved themselves at a big firm.

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  • Making DWF the top firm in Newcastle doesn't look particularly tricky.
    I guess it speaks volumes that even Flynn's own team didn't trek across the city to join him.

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  • It's tough at the top. Or 38th from the top.

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  • Well done to DWF for increasing turnover by 23% across all your offices.
    My guess would be that turnover has barely increased in the Newcastle office. Such under-performance may go unchecked in some North East firms, but doesn't at DWF.

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  • Reality check. He was good, but never as good as he told everyone he was.

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  • Months later, jF still listed on the DWF. However not in the office and rumoured to be on sick leave.

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  • So was this story untrue?

    I ask as it is now December and he's still on the website.

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  • It seems deeply unfair that DWF's hard working fee earners are subsidising John Flynn's bumper wages in 2013.

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  • Blimey! He's still at DWF!

    I'm staggered that nobody in the legal press is asking why.

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  • He's finally left DWF.

    His eptigraph will be 'he loved his staff'. Unfortunately for DWF, those staff were in his old team at Dickie Dees.

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  • John Flynn has now left DWF.

    He'll be remembered for the love he showed his staff. He's too modest to boast, but he did a lot to create the next generation of lawyers in Newcastle.

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