The Lawyer UK 200 Rank47

The origins of Freeths can be found in Freeth Cartwright, a Midlands firm that made its name in civil litigation, acting on major cases such as ones involving the infant MMR vaccine and the Trilucent breast implants. Product liability and clinical negligence remain areas of strength for the firm, but has steered itself on a more commercial course since the turn of the millennium. It demerged its business defence and criminal defence departments in 2000 – those teams became Cartwright

The origins of Freeths can be found in Freeth Cartwright, a Midlands firm that made its name in civil litigation, acting on major cases such as ones involving the infant MMR vaccine and the Trilucent breast implants.

Product liability and clinical negligence remain areas of strength for the firm, but has steered itself on a more commercial course since the turn of the millennium. It demerged its business defence and criminal defence departments in 2000 – those teams became Cartwright King.

The firm was also one of the first to hire non-lawyers to lead it, taking on accountant Colin Flanagan as its CEO in 1991. He was eventually replaced by banker Peter Smith, who remains in that role today, while Flanagan is chairman.

The transformation into Freeths (it rebranded in 2014) came though a very deliberate expansion drive through a series of mergers with independent firms across several UK cities. Among them were Kimbells of Milton Keynes in 2011 and Kent Jones & Done of Stoke and Henmans of Oxford in 2012. Further office openings came in cities including Sheffield and London around the same time.

Freeths now has 13 offices across the UK (a 2019 Bristol launch is the most recent addition), and broke through the £50m revenue barrier in 2015. At that point, its stated aim was to become a £100m firm by 2020; as of 2018 it was £78.9m and the firm has entered the UK top 50.

Freeths’ CEOs and chairs

CEO Chair
1991 Colin Flanagan
2000 Peter Smith Colin Flanagan