The Lawyer UK 200 Rank118

The history of Howes Percival begins with a wedding, when 18th-century lawyer Richard Howes exchanged vows with Mary Percival. In 1790, Howes had founded a practice in Towcester, on the outskirts of Northampton that would eventually evolve into the firm that exists today; his in-laws would add their name to the practice a century later. Michael Percival, a seventh-generation member of the family and the last to work at the firm, retired in 2005. Howes Percival enjoyed a significant period

The history of Howes Percival begins with a wedding, when 18th-century lawyer Richard Howes exchanged vows with Mary Percival. In 1790, Howes had founded a practice in Towcester, on the outskirts of Northampton that would eventually evolve into the firm that exists today; his in-laws would add their name to the practice a century later. Michael Percival, a seventh-generation member of the family and the last to work at the firm, retired in 2005.

Howes Percival enjoyed a significant period of growth in the late 1980s, opening up in Norwich and Milton Keynes, which would eventually eclipse Northampton as the region’s most important legal hub. Another office in Leicester opened in 1997 while a Manchester hub arrived in 2008. By that year, Howes Percival ranked 95th in The Lawyer UK 200 with revenue at an all-time high of £21.9m.

The firm was then hit by a double blow. In the autumn of Denton Wilde Sapte poached virtually all of Howes Percival’s corporate/commercial team in Milton Keynes. A group of 40, including six partners, departed, led by Milton Keynes head Brandon Ransley, who would go on to become UK managing partner of the newly global Dentons a couple of years later. The much-diminished MK office was reduced from corporate centre to a volume residential conveyancing practice.

The loss of that corporate team coincided with the financial crisis, and Howes Percival saw six successive years of revenue decline. By 2014 turnover was barely £15m and the firm had fallen to 133rd in the UK 200.

Since then, however, the firm has rebuilt. As of 2018/19 revenue had still not returned to 2008 levels but there had been five years of growth. The firm launched in London in 2010 with the hire of an insolvency lawyer and a real-estate-focused Cambridge office arrived on the scene in 2015.

Howes Percival’s leadership teams 1989 to present

Senior partner Chair
1989 Alan Kefford
2005 Andrew Barnes
2014 Tessa Haskey
2017 Gerald Couldrake