Wansbroughs homes in on health work

Wansbroughs Willey Hargrave is opening two new offices as part of a strategy to tap into the burgeoning health market.

The firm is set to take over the Sheffield office of Oxley & Coward having recently taken on nine lawyers from Wessex Legal Services in Winchester.

Five partners, 19 solicitors and a further 27 support staff will join Wansbroughs from Oxleys this month and will expand the firm's national network to seven offices.

The health sector will now account for up to 15 per cent of the turnover of the firm which is known for its professional negligence work.

Senior partner Robert Heslett says the decision to move into the health sector was taken in April. The firm knew it would have to buy into the market.

James Ogley, Oxleys' senior partner, says the hiving off of the medical negligence work in Sheffield was a logical and amicable move.

The firm's Rotherham base will remain committed to health sector clients, carrying out property, commercial and planning work, he says.

Diane Hallatt, head of Oxleys' medical negligence team in Sheffield, says the partners were keen to tap into the additional resources and Wansbroughs' national profile.

“Seeing the changes in the health service, and seeing that it is a continually moving feast, I believed we were also going to have to change.”

The Sheffield team has expanded from six to 19 fee-earners since it switched from Trent Regional Health Authority in 1989.

“Although we have extended our client base beyond Trent, some clients outside the area are understandably reluctant to instruct you,” Hallatt says.