These days, it’s all about focus, and this is particularly true at smaller firms. Stone King is no exception.
Last year the Bath-headquartered firm added more than £1m to revenue, a growth of 12 per cent, while in the current year it is projecting a growth rate of 10 per cent, which will take revenue above £11m. The rise is being powered by the firm’s sharp focus on two sectors: charities and education.
“We’ve handled around 25 per cent of the academy conversions nationally,” says Stone King managing partner Steven Greenwood, who concedes that conversion is “a single business moment” but adds that Stone King also hopes to pick up ongoing work such as property and employment.
In the charities sector the Bath firm’s six-partner, 20 fee-earner team headed by Michael King added 11 clients last year. That took it to 175 clients and joint second place with Withers in terms of the number of clients for which it acts (source: Caritas Top 3,000, 2011). Bates Wells & Braithwaite continued to head the list, with 310 clients.
“Charities work can be broad,” says Greenwood, “covering dispute resolution, real estate and so on.”
Growth in these sectors, alongside a push into private client for high-net-worth individuals, has been identified by Stone King as key. The input of hires including TPP Law director and education specialist Graham Burns, formerly head of projects for London at Eversheds, and Nabarro head of charities Jonathan Burchfield have helped focus the strategy.
Indeed, Greenwood’s role as managing partner is also new. Last May the child care group head, a former trainee at the firm 23 years ago, became Stone King’s first-ever managing partner.
As Greenwood explains: “The guys we want to hire want to sit down with a managing partner when they’re thinking of joining.”
Managing partner: Steven Greenwood
Number of partners: 24
Number of equity partners: 14
Number of lawyers: 73
Number of fee-earners: 88
Number of offices: Four
Locations: Bath, Cambridge, London, Melksham
Main practice areas: Commercial property, corporate and commercial, dispute resolution, employment, private client
Key clients: Arriva, E-Act, Ensign Bus Company, Lloyd’s Register, PKF, Sherborne School, West London Free School