Firm profile: Warners

Kent firm Warners has certainly got a busy rest of 2006 coming up: October will see the firm convert to LLP status.

Chairman Bill Wass says the firm took the decision to convert because it realised that LLP status would help it to attract new partners and encourage the growth of the firm.

“We believe that LLP status will help lawyers see a long-term future in the firm and a structured career progression route,” says Wass.

Not that Warners is about to set upon some rapid expansion plan. Established in 1785, the firm has 13 partners, 53 fee-earners and opts for organic growth rather than quick expansion.

However, its partner headcount has more than doubled in the past 10 years. The most recent addition was last May, when Elizabeth Dolding joined Warners’ company commercial team from a local rival.

Wass says that, although Warners has a small headcount compared with City firms, it is more than able to cope with its workload.

“We like to be busy. When we’re busy everyone works together as a team and delivers results better,” he explains.

In addition to becoming an LLP, Wass says the firm’s other major project this year is to consolidate its three offices in Tonbridge into one. As the firm has grown, it has rented extra space around Tonbridge, but the time has come to have a one-site operation.

“At the moment we’ve got a traditional-style office in Tonbridge. The new one’s going to be like our Sevenoaks branch – much more modern and easier to operate,” explains Wass. Warners also has two other offices in Kent in Paddock Wood and Sevenoaks.

Wass says that, although the firm is based in Kent, it services its clients nationally. Among these is West Ham United Football Club, for which Warners does a lot of work, including property transactions. Other clients include the Children’s Mutual Friendly Society, which specialises in savings for children, and Vantis Corporate Finance.

Turnover is expected to reach the £6m mark when the firm reaches its financial year-end in September.

“We’ve had a particularly good start to the year,” says Wass.

Recent deals include acting for the sellers of a hop farm in Paddock Wood to Lamberhurst Vineyards and advising on the £12m sale of a business park in Hertfordshire.

Chairman: Bill Wass
Turnover: £6m
Total number of partners: 13
Total number of fee-earners: 53
Main practice areas: Company commercial, property, family, employment, private client
Key clients: Children’s Mutual Friendly Society, Vantis Corporate Finance, Tonbridge School, West Ham United Football Club
Number of offices: Three
Locations: Paddock Wood, Sevenoaks and Tonbridge