The Lawyer UK 200 Rank68

Founded by the father of former Labour Party leader Michael Foot in 1903, as recently as the 1990s Foot & Bowden was a Plymouth high-street firm. Its merger with Exeter’s Anstey Sargent & Probert in 2000 formed the Foot Anstey of today. The firm then spent a number of years growing primarilty though bolt-ons of smaller firms, including Somerset’s Alms & Young in 2005 and both Plymouth’s Serpell Eaton and Truro’s Hancock Caffin in 2007. However, in 2008 current managing

Founded by the father of former Labour Party leader Michael Foot in 1903, as recently as the 1990s Foot & Bowden was a Plymouth high-street firm. Its merger with Exeter’s Anstey Sargent & Probert in 2000 formed the Foot Anstey of today.

The firm then spent a number of years growing primarilty though bolt-ons of smaller firms, including Somerset’s Alms & Young in 2005 and both Plymouth’s Serpell Eaton and Truro’s Hancock Caffin in 2007.

John Westwell

However, in 2008 current managing partner John Westwell took over the reins and came to the conclusion that this method of expansion had left Foot Anstey with a long tail of small, unprofitable clients. He embarked on an exercise to bring in better lawyers and bigger clients to move the firm up the value chain. A new prestige office on the Plymouth was one of the draws designed to bring the best and brightest on board.

The strategy has been successful; Foot Anstey has seen revenue rocket from £19.4m in 2008 to £43.4m in 2018. Profit per equity partner has increased year on year in the same time period and stood at £370,000 in 2018.

The firm ignored the advice of consultants to open a Bristol office in 2011, when the pain of the recession was still biting. The doubters were proved wrong, however, and the firm has grown in Bristol from six lawyers to more than 160 as of 2019. A Southampton office has also launched since then.

Westwell was elected for another four-year term in 2019, which will take him through to at least 2023 as managing partner.

Foot Anstey’s managing partners

Managing partner
1997 Jane Lister
2008 John Westwell