Firm profile: Warners

Kent-based Warners Solicitors can trace its foundations back to 1785 – the age of Mozart, Napoleon and Benjamin Franklin.

Chairman: Bill Wass
Turnover: £5.8m
Total number of partners: 17
Total number of lawyers: 59
Main practice areas: Private client, commercial property
Key clients: The Children’s Mutual, Tonbridge School, West Ham United FC
Number of offices: Two
Main office: Tonbridge, Kent

Kent-based Warners Solicitors can trace its foundations back to 1785 – the age of Mozart, Napoleon and Benjamin Franklin.
But Warners is not living in the past. The firm, which converted into an LLP and rebranded last year, is now aiming to build on its reputation and grow organically.

This year saw Warners move into a newly fitted-out office in Tonbridge.

“We’ve moved from an old, traditional office to a 12,500sq ft building, which has been made according to our specifications,” explains chairman Bill Wass.

The new open-plan office includes what Wass refers to as a “state-of-the-art IT system” and brings together teams that had previously been divided between various offices around the Tonbridge area.

Traditionally Warners has maintained its focus on the private client market, which is noted for being more than just a wills and probate service.

“We have more than just an average will-focused service,” says Wass. “We have a very established tax and tax inheritance offering.”

The practice contributes to 20 per cent of the
firm’s top line, which is forecasted to reach £6.4m this year. Another 20 per cent of turnover is expected to stem from the burgeoning commercial property department.

“We can now say that we have two very strong departments – commercial property and private client. Both of these departments are expected to grow at 10-15 per cent,” says Wass.

The commercial property team is the largest with 14 lawyers, while Wass says he is planning to grow the corporate offering “substantially”.

The family unit has also experienced notable growth and the team is slated for more expansion, with Wass targeting a 20 per cent growth in fees and also seeking to expand the team itself.

Wass has secured some key clients for the firm. Warners is a key adviser to West Ham United FC on almost all its property matters. “I worked on the due diligence for the West Ham takeover, its new training ground and a number of acquisitions and disposals for the club,” boasts Wass, who, incidentally, is a West Ham fan.

The targets are in place and the clients are rolling in, but Wass is adamant that the firm will remain focused on its key growth areas.

“Our growth is traditionally strong, steady and organic,” he states. “There are really no plans for a merger.”