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It has been a heady 12 months for expansionist DWF, with a string of mergers catapulting it up the UK revenue charts in The Lawyer’s UK 200 list. One of the key deals was its acquisition of Cobbetts, a major undertaking conducted under immense time pressure. The deal was made easier by the efforts of the facilities, IT and real estate teams in integrating a range of factors, notably three leases and 742 people.

“Sometimes it is the most practical projects that impress,” commented one of the judges. “Most people in the legal market know a fair bit about the Cobbetts/DWF story but still the bare facts boggle the mind – 742 people, less than a month’s elapsed time and three lease negotiations. A huge achievement for the facilities, IT and real estate teams.”

Head of facilities and property Karl Warmbold, service delivery manager Janice Moores and head of IT operations Martin Ashberry were the key people driving the project, the timescale of which was just 24 days, with the acquisition announced on 6 February and the relocations due to be completed by 24 February. The project objective was set by the board and key stakeholders were identified across central services teams to deliver the project. Due to the timescale, meetings had to be swift with targets set and reported on via the three key project members. Following the successful relocation, DWF reports it is now experiencing speedy harmonisation of its practice areas, enabling its lawyers to sustain and enhance the service the firm provides to its clients.

About Shepherd FM

Shepherd FM is a well-established and versatile Facilities Management company, who bring a breadth of experience and capability to meet the ever evolving needs of the legal sector. We work with clients in the legal profession to formulate bespoke FM solutions which deliver excellence in all areas of the built environment.

Our skill and experience demonstrates our understanding of how having the right services in place provides a more productive working environment for your people. We provide solutions which incorporate mechanical engineering, building maintenance and all front of house services.

We self-deliver over 90% of our Facilities Management services through our highly skilled and directly employed workforce. This ensures delivery of high quality standards which adhere to industry best practice, providing peace of mind and no unnecessary management costs.

Our proactive management style is focused on achieving the highest levels of customer satisfaction by listening to our clients and adopting a process of continuous improvement.

2ND: Orrick

US firm Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, which originated in and around California’s Bay Area, has long had technology as one of its international platform’s central sectors. Last year it brought a spot of Silicon Valley knowhow to the City when it turned its London office meeting rooms into a ‘start-up ecosystem’, an innovative approach to unearthing potential clients and underlining the firm’s central role in the technology and high-growth sectors. “Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best,” said one judge. “Using surplus meeting room capacity for a focused strategic business development aim with very real results is very smart and maybe all firms should be doing something similar.”

3RD: Farrer & Co

Last year Farrer & Co launched a major private exhibition to coincide with the London 2012 Olympics. Part of a wider profile-raising and client engagement strategy, Farrers embarked on an ambitious project to hold a unique private exhibition as part of the fitout of its new premises at 20- 23 Lincoln’s Inn Fields. The project involved designing and refitting new office space; creating a ‘museum-standard’ exhibition; and organising 44 separate events, which involved careful coordination between the facilities, marketing, management and front-of-house teams. The exhibition focused on the last time the Olympic Games were held in London in 1948 and the crucial role the firm played, as well as its continuing involvement with the sports and leisure sector. The project, managed by partner Julian Pike and former marketing head Catriona Russell, enabled Farrers to showcase not only its unique heritage and involvement with the 1948 London Olympics, but also to communicate to clients and contacts its significant expertise in the sports sector, differentiating the firm from its competitors.