2019 Winner: Backhouse Jones

About Backhouse Jones

This year marks 200 years in law for the Backhouse family. Yet in his early 20s, the one thing Jonathon Backhouse was not going to be was a solicitor. Despite his brother and business partner James’ plan to always join the family firm, Jonathon was quite adamant the legal profession was not for him. His mid-twenties brought about a change in direction and with it came a calling for Law School.

The Backhouse brothers’ father had adopted a transport specialism in the 60s when the booming industry in the north-west created a transport hub. The sector growth really accelerated through the 80s when a growing population, a more developed commercial landscape and better infrastructure dictated a more sophisticated regulatory system. Backhouse carved himself a reputation as one of the best in British transport law that remained intact through until his death in 1998.

Following John Backhouse’s death, the modern incarnation of the family firm was born when long-time associate Ian Jones joined the company as a partner. The transport specialism in this practice was further enhanced two years later when Andrew Woolfall joined the practice.  With a clear vision for creating a brand within their sector and better commercialising the great reputation already associated with the Backhouse name, the trio set about to build solutions-based services for clients.

To this day, Backhouse Jones remains a very family-based organisation with a unique approach to its work. The strong sense of community within the organisation is enhanced by the model the firm adopts with servicing clients. Still thriving in the transport industry, the firm is now market leader in this often-overlooked sector.


Why did they win?

The organisation has a very specific practice area in its sector, yet despite this offers a full range of client services. Their depth of knowledge within the transport industry is second to none, and this combination allows for a breadth of work that is very impressive. The firm was able to demonstrate this through its award submission with great case studies.

Good internal growth, workplace development and the culture of the organisation also impressed the judges and inevitably contributed to the firm’s successful submission.

Perhaps most impressively, as part of the unique way the organisation operates, Backhouse Jones has implemented a pricing model that offers innovative services in accessible ways, regardless of the size of organisation. Despite servicing lots of big blue-chip organisations, the per-vehicle structure allows SMEs to control legal spending while still benefitting from a retained service, building Backhouse Jones’ client portfolio, its scope of work and contributing to a better financial performance. This really stood out for the judges with one commenting that they were: “Impressed by the pricing structure” while another summarised that: “The stand out point is the pricing model based on vehicles.”

A win for the team

Fresh off the back of their award win, the whole Backhouse Jones team has been recognised by the directors for their contribution to the success of the organisation.

Very much a team affair, the independently assessed external recognition for their work has created a greater sense of pride within the company, and the directors believe this has inevitably contributed to an enhanced team morale.

Adding an additional kudos to its pitches, Backhouse Jones has been able to reference the win in client tenders, shine a light on the organisation in local and legal communities and leverage the accreditation through its marketing.

Advice to those thinking of applying for 2020’s The Lawyer Awards from Jonathon Backhouse, director at Backhouse Jones:  

“The Lawyer Awards are the ones that matter. Make sure you are able to genuinely demonstrate your organisation at its best. Show something unique; the work, services and case studies that are really going to make your firm stand out.”