Davis Blank Furniss was founded in Glossop in 1877 and remained a high street firm there for the next 60 years until it merged with a sole practitioner in Manchester. Eighty years later the Manchester office had predictably swamped Glossop in size and now accounts for around 75 per cent of lawyers, revenue and volume of work and is where the firm’s management and accounts department are located.
Senior partner Peter Heginbotham likens the relationship between the two offices to that of “Siamese twins”, but nevertheless the focus of the office in the Derbyshire town differs considerably from the Manchester office’s focus.
While Glossop concentrates on residential conveyancing, Manchester targets the commercial sector. As Heginbotham tells it, it is the Manchester office, with its focus on higher-end commercial work, that has been particularly affected by current market conditions.
With that in mind the senior partner says there are no plans to sever the Glossop twin. “The office is very effective – we don’t see it as a branch office,” he told The Lawyer. “The issue in the long term is compatibility between two types of practice. They’re different sorts of businesses.”
The primary objective for Glossop is to extend the geographical reach of its client base. “We want to expand geographically further into Derbyshire, where there’s more of a cultural fit,” says Heginbotham.
Growth will be achieved through trying to increase retention rates and making lateral hires, rather than through new mergers or takeovers.
“We’ve had other offices in the past through takeovers,” says Heginbotham. “They’re not particularly viable – it doesn’t add a great deal.”
But do not expect that growth to be astronomical, he stresses, adding: “We’re deliberately mid-sized – we don’t want to get too big. We feel we have close relationships with owner-managed businesses and we’re happy with that way of working.”
Managing partner: Kate Oldfield
Senior partner: Peter Heginbotham
Total number of partners: 13
Total number of lawyers: 26
Total number of fee-earners: 37
Main practice areas: Property, company/commercial, commercial litigation, personal injury, family
Key clients: Owner-managed businesses, Royal Bank of Scotland/NatWest, GM Chamber of Commerce, Manchester Solutions, Manchester Enterprises, Solicitors Regulation Authority (interventions)
Number of offices: Two
Locations: Manchester, Glossop