Brief encounter: gordon dadds

Gordon Dadds was established in 1921 by Tim Gordon after his World War I service and was subsequently joined by Howard Dadds. The firm's reputation rests primarily on its family law practice, but aims to offer a one-stop shop covering private client, litigation, commercial and property.

The firm is no stranger to change – in the last six years it has encompassed company commercial partnership Jepson Goff and attracted three family law partners, Kathryn Peat, David Ruck and Susan Phillips.

However, the firm faces difficulties retaining its hard-won reputation in family law with the impending departure of former senior partner Douglas Alexiou. Partners Jeremy Fisher and Susan Phillips will leave with him in July to set up a specialist family practice (The Lawyer, 26 February). Sue Bland will take over as head of the family department, which will still feature Peat and Ruck.

David Goff will become the new managing partner. The new senior partner Roger Peters (formerly managing partner) says the firm will stick to its strategy of expanding its private client department, with particular focus on company commercial work. Peters discloses that turnover is "comfortable", despite the departures.

Last autumn, the practice retained three newly-qualifieds from its own trainees and added an assistant solicitor from outside. Peters says that the firm prefers the homegrown product, but does not discount the alternatives.

In providing a broad range of services to clients, Gordon Dadds says it has "professional friends" abroad to provide advice in overseas jurisdictions. US tax advice is very relevant to offshore planning and divorce work, and the firm aims to exploit its US connections to offer such a service. Foreign property advice is also often required. Peters says the firm has associations with foreign firms, but no exclusive relationships.

The private client department is crucial to building the scope of the firm. With several entrepreneurial clients, the firm hopes to be able to cross-refer work internally, something that has been rigorously pursued by the City in recent years.

The firm acts for 30 charity clients, offering tax as well as charity advice. Peters has been the legal consultant to the Guide Association (formerly the Girl Guides) for the last 16 years.

The company commercial department has acted for the Football Association and Coventry Football Club, of which department head Michael Jepson is a director. It has also acted for the Noon family on the £50m sale of Noon Products (an Asian meals manufacturer for Sainsburys).

On the family side, the firm fiercely protects client confidentiality, but is known to have acted for Spice Girl Melanie Gulzar among other personalities. The family practice is rated in the same league as those of Manches, Withers and Charles Russell.

On the litigation side, the firm recently acted in the EuroExpress Court of Appeal case, which extended the definition of a shadow director; it also represented Dr Mahmud Al-Kistaini against Shanshal in a Court of Appeal case, which involved the construction of UN Security Council sanctions legislation against Iraq and their compatibility with the European Convention on Human Rights.