Staffordshire firm Ansons may be young in years, but it has some reassuringly old-fashioned principles.
Having spun off from fellow West Midlands firm Hadens in 2004, Ansons is ambitious, but above all wants to maintain its countryside roots. It currently has two offices, both deliberately located in small towns. That is because the firm trades off the idea that an attractive location can lure the best talent.
“Happy cows produce more milk,” is how senior partner Simon James jokingly explains the philosophy. “From a recruitment point of view, we say you can come and live in a nice part of the world and still do high-quality work. To the client we have the skills to do top work for them but don’t have the overheads that the big City practices do.”
If the client list that Ansons boasts is anything to go by, the strategy is working. The firm acts in niche areas for a good selection of corporate clients, with commercial property, agriculture and environment particular sweet spots.
Last year the firm demonstrated its entrepreneurial zeal when it worked alongside Travers Smith on Bupa’s divestment of its Guardian Homecare business for an undisclosed consideration.
Travers outsourced elements of the deal to Ansons, one of Bupa’s longstanding regional advisers. This allowed Ansons to get involved in a deal that would usually be beyond its reach. James confirms that it is an arrangement he can see being repeated in the future, both with Travers and other City firms.
Last year Ansons acquired Lichfield firm Hinckley Birch & Brown, best known for its private client expertise. James says Ansons will probably add more weight in certain key areas, although it is unlikely to spread further afield. “We’re not in the market to open new offices,” says James. “But we feel the need to be bigger than we are now.”
Senior partner: Simon James
Number of partners: Six
Number of equity partners:Four
Number of lawyers: 17
Number of fee-earners:22
Main practice areas:Agriculture, charities, corporate, commercial property, dispute resolution, employment, planning and environment
Number of offices: Two
Key clients: Bupa, Serco, Lloyds TSB, Marston’s, Veolia