Bates Wells & Braithwaite stays firm favourite for charities work

Bates Wells & Braithwaite has scored a second successive year at the top of an annual league table for law firms with charity clients.

The league table, published in the RCM Top 3000 Charities guide, shows that the London firm has increased its number of charity clients by 39 to 217 between 2004 and 2005.

Farrer & Co, Russell-Cooke and Withers have also gained more clients, while Bircham Dyson Bell has lost 16 but remains fourth in the table with 101 charity files.

Bates Wells’ charity clients include Save the Children, the British Red Cross, Action Aid, the Charities Aid Foundation and the Royal National Institute for the Blind.

Partner Peter Kirkpatrick said the increase in work had been achieved through both organic growth and hires. The Bates Wells charity and social enterprise department took on three new assistants from outside the firm in 2004, bringing the number of dedicated charity lawyers there to 17.

Kirkpatrick said the firm’s success was due to its commercial strategy. He told The Lawyer: “The most important thing we offer is a deep understanding of charity law as a full commercial business service.”

He added that as well as acting for large and well-known charities, Bates Wells had many smaller charities as clients.

“We see it as an important commitment to the sector as a whole,” Kirkpatrick concluded.

Top legal advisers by number of charity clients
Firm 2005 2004
Bates Wells & Braithwaite 217 178
Withers 153 111
Farrer & Co 124 107
Bircham Dyson Bell 101 116
Russell-Cooke 99 88

  Source: RCM Top 3000 Charities, 2005 ed, published by CaritasData