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For South Yorkshire firm Taylor & Emmet Solicitors, 2009 will be a landmark year.
After steady growth, with turnover rising from £5m to £7m over four years, the coming year will see the firm convert to LLP status, expand its headcount and broaden its practice areas to cope with a more cut-throat commercial environment.
Examples of the firm’s ambitions can be seen from the opening of a third office on the border of Sheffield and Derbyshire last year, which provides a useful stepping stone into the Chesterfield and Derbyshire markets.
In the past the firm has focused on conveyancing work, but in the past 18 months the bulk of its revenue has come from the practice areas it lists under its ‘business legal services’ tag, with 33 per cent of the firm’s work now coming from commercial property, commercial litigation, employment, corporate and social housing, and 28 per cent from residential conveyancing.
“One catalyst was the residential housing market crash, but we’ve long held a vision to have a balanced practice,” explains chief executive Anthony Long, who sees the future of the firm in thirds: business legal services, residential conveyancing and private client.
To drive towards this goal the firm has made a number of hires in the past 12 months, such as commercial property partner Julian Rodin from Brooke North, David Poddington, who joined from Eversheds to head the employment team, and three lawyers who now form a childcare team at the firm. More additions are planned for 2009.
Long’s approach to achieving his ‘rule of thirds’ vision is to instil a more corporate mindset in its lawyers, with one eye on the firm’s conversion to LLP in April.
“It’s an ongoing challenge to get lawyers to open their eyes to the business world and spot the opportunities out there,” he explains. “We’re recruiting talented people, and their pedigree, we hope, will encourage those already at the firm to realise that we’re going places.”
Chief Executive: Anthony Long (right) Turnover: £7m Number of partners: 17 Number of equity partners: Nine Number of lawyers: 36 Number of fee-earners: 46 Number of offices: Three Locations: Sheffield Main practice areas: Commercial property, commercial litigation, employment, corporate, social housing, conveyencing, family, personal injury Clients: Royal Bank of Scotland/NatWest, Barclays, Yorkshire Bank, Guinness, Northern Counties, South Yorkshire Housing Association, Diocese of Sheffield