JMW Solicitors

JMW Solicitors” />Managing partner: Bill Jones
Turnover: £7.5m
Number of partners: 22
Number of fee-earners: 56
Key clients: Asda, Marks & Spencer
Number of offices: Two
Locations:Altrincham, Manchester

“Our new building is a statement about what JMW is about. We’re not just talking about it, we’ve actually done it,” says managing partner Bill Jones of JMW Solicitors’ new Manchester premises at No 1 Byrom Place.

Jones, one of the firm’s founding partners, identifies the firm’s new building at Spinningfields as the culmination of its five-year business development plan. “We believe that we have the best building, with the best facilities to train our staff in the best way. This helps recruit talent and keep talent. As a result we’ll get better and bigger clients,” he says.

JMW was established in 1978 as a small crime-based legal aid practice. The firm’s practice areas developed quickly and gained new clients, largely as a result of word of mouth recommendations.

“We weren’t going to turn non-criminal work away, so we started developing our matrimonial and property departments as a response to our clients’ demands,” says Jones.

The firm estimates that more than 70 per cent of its work is now generated from existing clients and recommendations.

JMW now provides a broad range of legal services to both private and commercial clients. Its commercial practice covers a range of areas, including commercial property, anti-money laundering and insurance litigation. The firm has also established a retail development practice and regularly advises Marks & Spencer and Asda on real estate matters, consisting mainly of development work.

Jones says JMW also has a “pretty solid” private client department, which covers practice areas including clinical negligence, conveyancing and personal injury.

Going forward the firm has an ambitious growth strategy and this year expects to post a turnover of approximately £8m, up by 6.7 per cent from its turnover of £7.5m in 2005-06.

“To take us into the next generation and to put us on a different platform, we’ve been pushing to try to attract talent from the major regional firms,” says Jones.

Recently the firm lured commercial litigator Tony Winterburn away from DLA Piper.

JMW is “clearly open” to offers from suitable merger partners, but “will not go down the route of just getting bigger for the sake of it. We put our people first,” says Jones.

The firm prides itself on fostering a friendly culture with a flexible working environment and is not driven purely by profit.

“While we’ve always had a profitable, well-managed firm, we’re not ruthless and we value people,” says Jones.