Firm profile Spratt Endicott

Established in 2002, Spratt Endicott now employs 120 people across six commercial departments.

Firm: Spratt Endicott
Senior partner: John Spratt
Turnover: £6m
Number of partners: Nine
Number of equity
Number of lawyers: 31
Number of fee-earners: 60
Number of offices: Three
Location: Banbury
Main practice areas:
Company commercial,
commercial property, employment, dispute resolution, property
recovery, IP, landlord and tenant/property litigation, private capital, family, residential property
Clients: Ernst & Young, Marriott Hotels, Royal Mail, Securitas, Virgin Media

Established in 2002, Spratt Endicott now employs 120 people across six commercial departments. Based in Banbury, Oxfordshire, the firm achieved revenue growth of 11 per cent over 2007-08 to reach £6m, but the crash in residential property instructions towards the end of last year saw the firm’s team of 25 reduced to 12 following redundancies.

Senior partner John Spratt recalls the process as “painful” and says the firm did not want to lose any of those who left. “The level of instructions dropped away and by October 2008 we knew we were going to have to revaluate our structure. We went through six different budgets to try to minimise the damage but had to let 12 people go. It was very tough,” he says.

The uncertainty over the looming recession also meant that an image overhaul planned for May 2008 was put on hold, but plans to redesign the website and build a bigger profile have been resumed.

The firm’s other practice areas were not affected by the downturn in the same way as residential property but, Spratt adds, the nature of the work has changed. The firm’s most successful practice – debt recovery – is manned by 30 staff and takes the firm all over the country, and its work for major banks is still going strong.

“We’re an unusual firm in that we’re in a very small town but our clients are based in many different places. Debt collection for Royal Mail means we’re in competition with whatever firm is in the same location as the work takes us.”

Spratt expects to see a slight dip in revenue for 2009, but in general he believes the future is looking more rosy for the firm. Spratt says that property is coming back and the general atmosphere is changing.

“I think property will become more and more comfortable,” he says. “Instructions are coming through at a much higher rate than during the low point. There won’t be any change in the sales and purchases of shares anytime soon. That work is built on people’s confidence for the future and there isn’t much of that at the moment.”