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Based in leafy Portland Square in London’s West End, Seddons operates within the fortress of the Belgravia and Mayfair markets. It may reside in an upmarket part of town, but Seddons’ experienced managing partner Robin Austin is adamant that there is no ‘old boys’ network’ at the firm.
Well-travelled Austin, who completed his articles in 1971, has appeared in dozens of different jurisdictions in his career and has built up a network of relationships, most notably in Geneva and India, that have led to many successful referrals back on home soil.
“Recommendation is the best way of sourcing business – I would put that top of the list of positive marketing approaches,” says Austin, who is a life-associate member of the Indian Council of Arbitration and visits the country often.
Despite conceding that the firm made some “very good” money from its residential practice in 2006-07, Austin says Seddons never relied upon the practice and did not squander its coffers during the boom times.
“This year the market has been good, but there’s no cream on the cake like there was last year,” he says. “That said, the top end of the market wasn’t affected in the same way – there’s still work out there.”
Litigation has traditionally been a big practice for the firm and now accounts for around 40 per cent of its £6.5m turnover. Austin says he has seen some “real movement” in property and commercial litigation over the past few months. Immigration too has been a success, with Austin putting an upturn in this unglamorous but lucrative work down to more foreign firms trying to set up in the capital.
Seddons’ management board is headed by Austin and includes finance partner Simon Ross, litigator Marvin Simons and property specialist Andrew Jacobs. Austin proudly lists the charity events and corporate social responsibility programmes the firm is involved in, such as a large annual charity quiz.
“We’re a progressive firm,” he says. “I’m always looking for new situations – we don’t have rigid plans. I won’t turn my back on any interesting project that crosses my path.”
Managing partner: Robin Austin Turnover: £6.5m Number of partners: 16 Number of equity partners: Nine Number of lawyers: 29 Number of fee-earners: 37 Main practice areas: General and commercial litigation, property litigation, corporate, property, family, education, private client Number of offices: One Location: London