The Lawyer UK 200 Rank24

Addleshaw Goddard was formed from the merger of Addleshaw Booth & Co and Theordore Goddard in 2003. The former was Northern and ambitious, with plenty of heft in Manchester and Leeds, especially for corporate, finance and property work. By contrast, Theodore Goddard was a mid-size London firm with a pleasant atmosphere, some interesting media and entertainment work and what now seems the incredible quaint practice of guaranteeing all trainees jobs on qualification. By the time of the merger it’s fair

Addleshaw Goddard was formed from the merger of Addleshaw Booth & Co and Theordore Goddard in 2003.

The former was Northern and ambitious, with plenty of heft in Manchester and Leeds, especially for corporate, finance and property work. By contrast, Theodore Goddard was a mid-size London firm with a pleasant atmosphere, some interesting media and entertainment work and what now seems the incredible quaint practice of guaranteeing all trainees jobs on qualification. By the time of the merger it’s fair to say it was flagging a bit and needed a lift to keep it competitive.

Mark Jones, Addleshaw Goddard
Mark Jones

The new Addleshaw Goddard pushed on nicely in the years after the merger under the leadership of Mark Jones, though an adherence to what was dubbed ‘The AG Way’ saw a proliferation of buzzwords and slogans within the firm (‘Three Offices, One Team’/‘Bold and Beautiful’ clients/a ‘From Me to You’ mentality). A more corporate image was cultivated: a family department was offloaded in 2008 and the firm moved to new London premises, Milton Gate.

Post-Jones, however, Addleshaw Goddard lost some of its shine. Although new managing partner Paul Devitt’s strengths as a lawyer were never in question his popularity as a leader was not so clear cut. Numerous sources reported rising tension in the partnership while some embarrassing internal accounting errors and the exit of longstanding financial director Martin Gaskin compounded the impression of a firm where not everything was well. The firm now has offices in Oman, Qatar, Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai but there was a sense that that firm’s international strategy was not paying off in spades.

John Joyce Addleshaw Goddard
John Joyce

Devitt stood down a year before the end of his tenure, with John Joyce taking over in 2014. He set the goal of taking top of equity over £1m, which he successfully did at the end of 2015/16, three years ahead of target. Joyce also successfully negotiated a deal to take over Gateley’s Scottish arm, HBJ. The HBJ merger went live in May 2017, adding around £22m to Addleshaws’ top line.

Addleshaw Goddard is well known to be in the market for a merger and reports of talks have circulated on and off for years. Nabarro, CMS, Maclay Murray & Spens have all been suitors at one point or another – Nabarro in 2013 (talks never went beyond a preliminary stage), Maclays in 2015 and CMS in 2016 (talks broke down over disagreements over who would lead the firm). The latest set of talks to make the headlines were with US firm Hunton & Williams: conversations began in 2015 but fizzled out after two years of negotiations.

Managing partner Senior partner
1992 Mark Jones
1997 Paul Lee
2009 Paul Devitt
2010 Monica Burch
2014 John Joyce
2016 Charles Penney

TRAINING CONTRACTS

What is the trainee salary at Addleshaw Goddard?

1st year trainee: £38,000 (London); £26,000 (regions)

2nd year trainee: £41,000 (London); 28,000 (regions)

Number of trainees: 85

ADDLESHAW GODDARD FACTS

Founded: 2003 (merger)

Locations: London, Leeds, Manchester