Blake Lapthorn

<a class=Blake Lapthorn” />Five years ago the management of South East firm Blake Lapthorn Tarlo Lyons came up with a plan for expansion.

Now, according to senior partner Jonathan Lloyd-Jones, the firm can be described as a full-service regional law firm with a central City of London office.

“The plan we had in 2003 was to establish ­ourselves in the South, the Thames Valley and ­central London, and the mergers have achieved all of that,” says Lloyd-Jones.

The mergers in question began in 2003 when the firm acquired an Oxford base by merging with local firm Linnells. In 2006 it bolstered its City practice by merging with Tarlo Lyons.

Now, says Lloyd-Jones, the time has come to focus on organic growth, although he does not rule out ­further merger activity.

Integration with Tarlo Lyons is now fully complete and turnover at the enlarged firm has increased ­significantly, up from £33.3m in 2005-06 (for Blake Lapthorn) to £50.7m this year.

Around three-quarters of turnover comes from a combination of litigation, commercial real estate and corporate commercial work. The remaining quarter is contributed by the firm’s private client department, which includes property and family litigation.

While private client property has suffered as a result of the market slowdown, Lloyd-Jones feels the practice group is insulated from this to some degree.
“In one sense we’ve been fortunate that both ­Winchester and Oxford are still reasonably strong performers in residential property,” he says. “But it’s sad to say that the Portsmouth area is more ­challenging and not immune to what’s going on.”

The firm’s strategy for the year ahead is to focus on developing individual practice areas, particularly construction; leisure, health and care; finance; ­charity, education and social housing; and private client. The firm is also consolidating its ­Southampton and Fareham offices into one large office of up to 400 people near Chandlers Ford.

Firm: Blake Lapthorn Tarlo Lyons
Senior partner: Jonathan Lloyd-Jones
Turnover: £50.7m
Number of partners: 114
Number of lawyers: 421
Main practice areas: Corporate, litigation dispute resolution, private client, real estate
Key clients:, Gala Coral, Sabre Holdings, Kerry Group, British Credit Trust, Mitchells & Butlers, Porterbrook Leasing Company, Prince Paul of Romania, Grant Thornton, Tenon
Number of offices: Six
Locations: London, Oxford, Southampton, Fareham, ­Winchester, Portsmouth