Stewarts Law" />The client list at niche litigation firm Stewarts Law is conspicuous by its absence. As managing partner John Cahill says: “It’s not the nature of our business to have lots of repeat work.”
This is anathema to most firms, perhaps, but the concept is working for Stewarts: over the past 10 years, turnover has increased by 400 per cent and net profit by 600 per cent. Partners at the top of the equity pick up £816,000, with the average profit share standing at £600,000. In the last financial year, turnover grew an impressive 44 per cent to £11.9m.
The secret to the firm’s success, according to Cahill, has been a strong focus on complex, high value litigation and more recently on high net worth private clients, which has enabled it to follow an expansionist path.
Stewarts expanded out of its London base five years ago and set up a new office in Leeds. “We realised there was a client base in the North that we couldn’t attract by being in London,” explains Cahill.
Leeds now consists of 14 lawyers and support staff and the firm moved into larger offices on 1 September. The aim is to bring the capacity up to between 20 and 30 people quickly, says Cahill. The London office houses around 90 staff.
Almost half the fees at Stewarts are generated by personal injury, but Cahill says: “The idea is to dilute that by adding mass to the new practices.”
The firm is launching a number of new practices following its successful start in divorce and aviation work for private individuals.
The latter resulted in instructions in the recent Madrid plane crash and Stewarts claims to have represented more than 10 per cent of families involved in worldwide aviation accidents in 2007.
The next teams to be launched are banking litigation, contentious employment and professional negligence. Cahill says Stewarts is currently in talks with several teams.
He adds that the firm is also keen to form a friendship with a similarly oriented US firm in the near future. This, says Cahill, could potentially result in a merger.
Managing partner: John Cahill Turnover: £11.9m Number of partners: 19 Number of equity partners: Nine Number of fee-earners: 76 Number of offices: Two Locations: London and Leeds Main practice areas: Personal injury, clinical negligence, dispute resolution, divorce and aviation