The Lawyer Africa Elite 2014 features an in-depth look at 46 leading independent firms’ strategies in 15 key sub-Saharan jurisdictions, as well as the views of in-house counsel from some of Africa’s largest companies... Read more
This year, The Lawyer’s annual ranking of the largest UK law firms by turnover is available as an interactive, digital benchmarking tool. For the first time this will allow you to manipulate each data set against the metrics of your choice.
Withy King" />At the end of the 2006-07 financial year, Withy King reported a disappointing 3.5 per cent fall in turnover to £10.8m. The Bath-headquartered firm has since been working hard to reverse its fortunes and this year has come stomping back, reporting a 24 per cent increase to £13.4m.
Managing partner Martin Powell says the recent success comes on the back of sustained investment in the firm. “Every single area has hit ahead of budget,” he says. “Two years ago we restructured to bring in business managers and we have a team of seven responsible for developing our different areas.”
This executive committee works alongside the partnership to further develop the business. Powell says that changes looming in the profession, such as the introduction of the Legal Services Act, have forced the firm to consider its wider options.
“The profession has moved away from being arrogant,” he believes. “While there are a lot of firms out there that haven’t geared up for the future, we’re ready for the next 20 years. Mergers and acquisitions are very much the order of the day.”
The bulk of Withy King’s work is commercial – the practice area accounts for 34 per cent of revenue – with private client, including family, accounting for 28 per cent. The personal injury and clinical negligence practice and the conveyancing business each make up 19 per cent of the firm.
That said, Powell feels this breakdown will alter in future. “We’re going to try to retain the balance, but opportunities can arise that will skew the percentages – it will be brought back into line.”
Additionally, because Withy King’s conveyancing practice effectively sits as a separate entity from the firm, Powell envisages growing the business significantly to make it an attractive proposition either for investment or sale. All this, however, lies very much in the future.
“We have had two cash offers for the conveyancing business this year, but I’d be reticent to sell yet,” says Powell. “It has grown phenomenally in the past 18 months, but it needs to stand on its own. We have to be mindful of the future.”
Managing partner: Martin Powell Turnover: £13.4m Number of partners: 39 Number of lawyers: 70 Main practice areas: Private client, commercial, personal injury, clinical negligence Key clients: Wessex Water, WRc, Smile Stores, The National Trust, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland Number of offices: Six Office locations: Bath (two offices), Marlborough, Swindon, Trowbridge, London