Move On Up: Brecher

The London outfit’s significant lateral efforts and healthy retention rate have provided it with a springboard for sizeable future promotion rounds

London-based commercial firm Brecher has been on a steady growth pattern in recent years. Despite being a small firm, with just 30 lawyers, Brecher has expanded its partnership through both lateral hires and internal promotions and has retained the bulk of those it has brought on board.

As the firm has expanded, the ­opportunities for associates to climb the career ladder to partnership has also grown. In 2006-07 and 2007-08 Brecher made up just one associate each year in the shape of commercial property specialists David Hershkorn and David Merson respectively.

Neither trained at Brecher, with Hershkorn originally a New York lawyer and Merson joining from SJ Berwin.

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The following year, 2008-09, had no promotions, but two new partners, Emma Glassberg and Bradley Lee, who focus on property and ­corporate work respectively, were promoted in 2009-10.

The 2010-11 financial year was also without promotions. Three associates were made up in 2011-12. All three new partners, Lisa Mantle, George Saade and Dominic Whelan, work in the firm’s property department, which is a key part of Brecher’s offering. Whelan was recruited as an associate from Fladgate Fielder the previous year.

The majority of Brecher’s lateral hires have also been property or property finance specialists. The greatest growth came in 2006-07 and 2007-08, when the firm hired a total of five partners from other firms.

Three of those laterals were ­property finance specialists from the London office of US firm K&L Gates. Nicky Richmond joined Brecher on
1 January 2007, followed closely by Anita Michaelides (now a consultant at Brecher) and Redmond Byrne.

Richmond had actually trained at legacy firm Brecher & Co, which merged with K&L Gates legacy firm Nicholson Graham & Jones in 1995. The merger caused a split, which led to Andrew Brecher, Valerie Brecher and Jeremy Abram setting up Brecher Abram. Shortly after her return to Brecher, Richmond became joint managing partner alongside Abram.

Edwin Coe partner David Grossbard, a corporate lawyer, was also ­recruited in January 2007.

The fifth lateral in these two years was Steven Ross, previously an associate at London firm GSC, who joined Brecher’s litigation team as a partner.

The firm made no lateral hires in 2008-09 or 2010-11 and just one in 2009-10, when it hired back former Brecher lawyer Clare Barber, who had left the firm for family reasons.

In 2011-12 Davenport Lyons lawyer Bryn Robertson was brought on board, joining the firm’s insolvency group as a partner. Boodle Hatfield corporate partner Victoria Symons was also recruited.

The hires have continued into the current financial year, with property litigator Janice Northover joining Brecher from Davenport Lyons and Nabarro property partner Belinda Solomon moving to Brecher. Both partners started work at their new firm in May this year.

Low goes

Set against the hires and promotions are a small number of partner ­departures, with no partners leaving the firm in 2006-07 or 2007-08.
In 2008-09 partner Raymond Alexander retired and the firm also lost four partners to start-up JD Law. They comprised recent promotions Hershkorn and Merson, alongside Grossbard and Jeremy Harris, the ­latter having been a partner at Brecher for 11 years.

The only other departure was that of Barber, who after a year back at the firm decided to leave again to focus on her family.

The low number of exits means Brecher has added a net nine partners in six years, which is good growth for a relatively small firm.

Although much of the growth has come from lateral recruitment at both the associate and partner levels, the firm is getting to a size now where more partners can be made up from the ranks of solicitors. Saade, in April 2011, was an example of this.

Brecher’s efforts to ensure people are the right fit for the firm now ­include offering potential trainees a six-month paralegal role before they start their training contracts.

Promotions and senior hires

Nicky Richmond, property finance
Richmond was hired in 2007 from K&L Gates and is now joint managing partner

Dominic Whelan, property
Whelan joined as an associate in June 2010 from Fladgate Fielder and was made up the following year

Bradley Lee, corporate
Lee was the only corporate lawyer to be promoted at Brecher recently


4 Equity partners

13 Partners

13 Associates

1 Trainee

3 Fee-earners

14 Staff