Single-site Oxford firm Henmans is busily working on shedding its old-fashioned image.

Julia Iball
Julia Iball

A move to new offices three years ago has helped, as has the promotion of female lawyers at every level.

Half of the equity partnership, including ­managing partner Julia Iball, are women, suggesting that the firm is more progressive than many of its competitors.

The recruitment of its first professional finance head, nabbed from Allen & Overy two years ago, is a further sign that Henmans is moving in a ­modernising direction. And the fact that it has
come through the downturn relatively unscathed has added to its lustre.

“Our proudest boast is that we’ve worked through the recession without making any redundancies relating to it while maintaining our income figures,” says Iball. “We’ve tried, and hopefully succeeded, in keeping strong teams ­together, so we’re well-placed as the economy moves back into growth.”

Professional and clinical negligence are still the firm’s core strengths, but the property, corporate and private client teams are becoming forces in their own right. Private client is also now the biggest department at the firm and one of the largest groups in the region.

The income from the property team has increased in both 2008-09 and 2009-10, helped by Henmans’ renowned agricultural practice. The quality of this group was underlined this year when Nicola Boaden took third place in The Lawyer Awards’ Assistant of the Year category.

Henmans’ growing client list includes some of the biggest names in insurance, with the firm acting for Zurich, Capita and Travelers.

In 2008-09 the firm posted a revenue of £9.5m and, with 2009-10 now almost over (Henmans has a 30 September year-end), it expects this year’s figure to come in at around £9.4m.

Managing partner: Julia Iball
Turnover: £9.4m
Number of partners: 23
Number of lawyers: 62
Number of fee-earners: 68
Number of offices: One
Location: Oxford
Main practice areas: Charities, clinical negligence, corporate, employment, family, private client, professional indemnity, property
Key clients: BMW, Capita, Oxford colleges, RSPCA, Stagecoach, Zurich