Firm profile: Glaisyers

Manchester firm Glaisyers is a close-knit team, so much so that it has dispensed with the traditional managing partner’s role in favour of a management team of six. Nick Johnson, a litigation lawyer with Glaisyers since 1983, acts as the spokesperson and sums up the approach thus: “We work closely together, with the six partners in the management team having various delegated responsibilities. It’s a system that works very well.”

Glaisyers was established in 1974 and has grown into one of Manchester’s leading medium-sized firms. An office in the city centre handles commercial and residential property for private individuals and commercial developers, as well as company commercial transactions, personal injury and Road Traffic Act cases, litigation and financial services work. There are two other offices in the Longsight and Cheetham Hill areas, where the emphasis is on family work, childcare, housing disputes, crime, welfare benefits, domestic conveyancing, probate and wills.

“We offer a good, all-round commercial service to our clients, a premier league service in our chosen areas of work,” says Johnson. “It’s a very competitive market and we recognise that you have to be proactive about getting the work and offering added value to clients. In today’s world those lawyers who can offer an efficient and cost-effective service will get the clients. Lawyers have traditionally waited for work to come through the door, but this is no longer the case.”

Johnson says Glaisyers has recently boosted its company commercial team, and that the firm sees IT and first-class training as key to its continued growth. “We’ve invested extensively in IT, and have a case management system in many departments,” he says. “Good IT is essential, but so too is training and looking after the trainees and junior solicitors. They’re the future, so we have to make sure that they become good technical lawyers, at the same time as being practical and commercial. We give them wide experience with clients so that they understand their needs.”

A sense of the commercial – and how it marries up with a client’s needs – animates much of Johnson’s views. “It’s as important to develop a relationship with a client as it is to offer a good service,” he says. “We aim to be commercially-minded in all our dealings with clients, to try to ensure that we’re always able to add value to a client’s business.”

Glaisyers’ approach seems to be working. Turnover has been “increasing for the past three to four years”, according to Johnson. The firm does not, however, plan for wholesale expansion, but rather organic growth, particularly in the company commercial, employment and construction sectors. As Johnson says: “There’s always a risk with bolt-on expansion. You never know whether the fit will be right.
We intend to maintain our profitability and grow from within. I think you need control over the firm’s growth.”

The firm’s growth will not, however, be at the expense of quality of life. “It’s important to get the balance right between offering a first-class service and having a good family and home life,” says Johnson. “It’s not healthy for people to be working until 10 at night and on weekends. We do our best to create a decent working environment that matches the needs of clients and staff.”

Executive Nick Johnson, partner
Turnover £4m-plus
Total number of partners 12
Total number of solicitors 22
Main practice areas Commercial property, company commercial, employment, family and litigation
Key clients Various plcs, national housebuilders and various small and medium-sized enterprises
Number of offices Three
Locations Central Manchester, Cheetham Hill and Longsight