Taylor Wessing reveals its master plan for expansion

Taylor Wessing reveals its master plan for expansion” />Taylor Wessing released details last week of its six-month strategic review, which will see it aim for a turnover in excess of £100m, grow fee-earner numbers to around 300 and continue its European expansion over the next five years.

The firm is aiming for what it calls “a significant presence in at least five of the major European jurisdictions” within the period of the plan, which runs from 2004 to 2008, as first revealed on Grapevine, part of Lawyer News Weekly, The Lawyer’s weekly email service, last week.

The firm maintains that it is committed to “technology and IP [intellectual property]-rich industries”, despite the loss of five IT partners this year and no immediate plans to recruit. The key shift in a strategy that managing partner Gary Moss described as “evolutionary, not revolutionary” is the increased emphasis on four areas: technology, corporate, real estate and finance.

Moss admitted that the firm’s success in the technology sector had “overshadowed” other areas of expertise such as real estate. “There was a desire in the 1990s to have a USP [unique selling point],” admitted Moss, commenting on the firm’s previous technology tag. The new strategy, Moss told The Lawyer, was a recognition that there were other “areas for improvement and renewed focus”. The planned additional overseas expansion will be based on each new office having a strong presence in all four core areas, added Moss.

In addition to the four core areas, Taylor Wessing plans to focus on a number of key industries: IT/telecoms; biotech and life sciences; media and entertainment; hospitality, leisure and travel; banking and finance; private equity; real estate; construction and engineering; and infrastructure projects.

Taylor Wessing has been unable to keep one of the promises it made to itself in connection with its brand new strategy. Paris, the firm’s latest European offering, fails to boast all four of the core strengths demanded by managing partner Gary Moss: corporate, real estate, technology and finance. In fact, it is a push for it to boast three – the finance practice is no match for technology, media and telecoms and real estate is practically non-existent.

Niggles aside, though, the release of the UK-focused review (Germany escaped the process this time, but has agreed to the strategy) undeniably marks the next stage in the development of Taylor Wessing. The firm had got itself into a bit of a bind with its tech-firm branding. What had been a lovely little USP four years ago has hampered the firm’s development in other areas. It has long been ripe for change. If nothing else, keeping up morale among partners in the rest of the non-technology-related parts of the firm must have been a tough job for Moss. Being free to turn the light on them (time to shine for the lawyers in real estate, for example, who provide 15 per cent of the firm’s turnover) must be a relief to all concerned. – Matt Byrne