Total number of partners: 15
Total number of staff: 95
Main practice areas: Commercial, crime, family, personal injury, private client, property
Key clients: Big Pictures, British Horseracing Board, Exact Software
Number of offices: Five
Location: Aylesbury, Chesham, Harrow, High Wycombe and Rickmansworth
“We are a traditional high street practice that has developed far more into the commercial sector without forgetting our roots,” says Alka Kharbanda, head of commercial and former managing partner at Home Counties practice Blaser Mills.
The firm is well and truly in the thick of the wealthy commuter belt, with its five branches in Aylesbury, Chesham, High Wycombe, Harrow and Rickmansworth. A recent survey by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister found that Rickmansworth, with its Metropolitan Line tube connections to the City, is one of the most expensive places in the country to live.
“We happen to cover a very wealthy area and have a huge catchment area for wealthy clients,” says Kharbanda. “It is an area that continues to grow as more and more people leave London and set up in the Chiltern and Buckinghamshire region.”
The firm was originally established in 1888, but doubled in size overnight following its merger with High Wycombe firm Winter Taylor 10 years ago. That office was previously a convent school and is now the firm’s private client headquarters.
The firm is keen to retain a high profile within the local community and places a value on pro bono work, for example the work it handles for the local Citizens Advice Bureau and the British Legion. “There’s a real sense of community here and I can’t see us losing that connection, whichever way we develop,” says Kharbanda.
But the firm’s ambitions for the future are to expand the commercial practice. “We moved all our skills into one office and we’ve created units within that department – namely employment, litigation, commercial property, commercial and company and debt recovery,” says Kharbanda. “There’s a lot of interaction between the units. We can provide a complete service to clients.”
The firm has a policy of growing organically, from secretaries who can take advantage of doing the Institute of Legal Executives qualification, as five currently are, to trainees who wish to pursue their careers with the firm. However, the firm is also looking to recruit from London and local Oxford markets.
Kharbanda describes the Blaser Mills ethos as “being very client-focused and partner-led” and providing clients with “a very personal service”.