The philosophy at Taylor Walton is simple: regional is best.
Managing partner Dermot Carey, 41, reports that turnover has doubled in the last five years, firmly establishing the four-office outfit in the South East’s top 10.
This year has also witnessed the arrival of a number of senior laterals: banking partner Patrick McGrath from Macfarlanes, former head of employment at Kendall Freeman David Von Hagen and four other partners arrived in July.
“We’re definitely a highly attractive alternative to London-based lawyers,” claims Carey from the firm’s corporate headquarters in Luton. “Sometimes clients, be they private or otherwise, are after a more intimate service than the City firms are equipped to provide because of their sheer size. We’re here to fill those gaps.”
Taylor Walton hopes to offer the capability of a full-service law firm, offering the complete range of services to mid-range and large businesses throughout the UK as well as to private clients.
The commercial property team capped a good year by acting on a £24m shopping centre deal in the West Midlands last month, representing several longstanding overseas investors. The department has seen the most sustained growth since Carey’s reign began, scooping a slew of high-profile UK clients including Barclays Bank and Brook Street.
“Our recent expansion has been driven by client demand and by listening to people,” says Carey. “A successful law firm is built around relationships. People are its most important assets and building successful relationships is crucial.”
He also says the management shake-up 10 years ago was the catalyst for the firm’s current success.
The creation of a corporate hub in Luton, with private client centres in Harpenden and St Albans was, according to Carey, “one of our most successful decisions”, and allowed the firm to focus its energies.
“Our people, whether they be lawyers or support staff, can see their career paths mapped out in front of them here, and that can be very appealing,” says Carey. “We tend to get people and keep them.”
With no immediate merger plans, the strategy for now is more of the same.
“If we can achieve the same kind of growth in the next five years, I think we’ll all be very happy,” says Carey.
That aim will be dependent on organic growth and lateral hires, according to Carey, who, despite the assault on the City big-hitters, is keen to retain a level of intimacy.
Carey’s own career path has taken him from Taylor Walton trainee back in 1985 to managing partner in 2004.
“We have a winning formula here that’s served us well in the past, and we don’t intend to change it,” he insists.
Total number of partners
Total number of lawyers
Total number of staff
Main practice areas
Commercial, commercial property, corporate, employment, personal injury and private client
Bank of Scotland, Barclays Bank, Barnardo’s, Brook Street (UK) and Capital Group