Chief operating officer:
Senior partner: Ian Johnson
Total number of partners: 20 (16 equity)
Total number of fee-earners: 44 (including 30 solicitors) Number of offices: Two
Locations: Gerrards Cross, Beaconsfield
BP Collins was founded in 1966 by Brian Collins and so celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Originally focused on conveyancing, the firm at one point had 10 different locations in the Thames Valley, but consolidated these into bases at Gerrards Cross and Beaconsfield as the firm developed into a full-service practice.
Chief operating officer Karl Wingfield claims there “is significant opportunity to grow in the region”, and that the firm is currently on track to reach the target it set last year of doubling turnover by 2010. Wingfield says there are two main opportunities to be exploited to do this: the region’s growing number of old people and its increasing wealth.
“More and more people in Beaconsfield and Gerrard’s Cross own houses worth one or even two-million, and Gerrads Cross is part of the commuter belt for the City, meaning that they have expensive houses that are growing in worth, as well as often owning assets abroad and having substantial pensions.”
The firm is full service and its turnover is split equally between work for organisations and work for private individuals, as well as company commercial, employment, family, litigation, property and private client.
The significant personal wealth of some of the firm’s clients also ties in well with one of its two new practices, ‘elder law’ (the other is charity).
Elder law is an umbrella term for much of the law relevant to what Wingfield describes as “the grey market”.
As well as will and probate, securing powers of attorney for friends or relatives of elderly people unable to make decisions themselves and the administration of estates, BP Collins also provides advice on care.
“The big question is how much the state is willing to fund care when people have significant assets of their own,” explains Wingfield.
Associate Sue Normanton leads the elder law practice, serving under private client partners David Wilkinson and Jeremy Mills. Other practice group heads include partners Joe Davis in employment, Sue Constable in family, Tim Constable in litigation and Michael Larcombe and Christine Hardy in commercial and residential property respectively.
The firm has no managing partner and is governed on a day-to-day basis by a board chaired by senior partner Ian Johnson, along with three elected partners. Partners serve for three years at a time, but elections for the post are staged so that one partner is replaced each year.
As well as its ambitious plans for growth in turnover, the firm also wants to boost numbers by another 25 fee-earners by the end of the decade.