George Davies

George Davies’ managing partner Mark Hovell describes his firm as a mix of old and new.

Mark Hovell
Mark Hovell

He believes this is borne out by the fact that while most of its ­partners are under 40, it continues to represent a core clientele of family-owned businesses in the North West and remains committed to its traditional values. The firm has been transformed since Hovell joined as a trainee 19 years ago.

“We’ve always had a good work-life balance and a sense of fun, and we haven’t lost that, but we’ve also become much more efficient and business-like,” he says. “We don’t have lawyers who expect work to land on their desks; they roll their sleeves up.”

One development is that fee-earners now have a monthly appraisal to monitor their performance – hardly common practice when the firm was formed 71 years ago.

As well as having a strong corporate and ­commercial practice, George Davies also has one of the largest private client practices in the North West. Another key area is sports law, a practice that Hovell – a member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport – has helped build up over the past two decades.

The firm’s sports clients include the Professional ­Footballers’ Association and Rugby Players’ ­Association, but it recently picked up work from the likes of Manchester City and Sheffield Wednesday football clubs.

Hovell, who has been managing partner since 2007, eagerly promotes the firm’s ­commitment to “traditional values”. But what exactly are these?

“We’re straight-talking and transparent; we like to think that, as far as possible, our clients can have an enjoyable experience,” says Hovell. “Our approach is, ’if it was my money, this is what I would do’. It’s helped by the fact that we do as much work on a fixed-fee basis as we can, including disputes work.”

Managing partner: Mark Hovell
Turnover: £6.2m
Number of partners: 14
Number of lawyers: 44
Number of fee-earners: 66
Number of offices: One
Location: Manchester
Main practice areas: ­Corporate and commercial, real estate, private client, ­litigation, employment, ­insolvency, sport and ­property, projects and ­construction
Key clients: Hewden Stuart plc, Phoenix, Yearsley Group, Johnsons Group, Stobart Group, Professional ­Footballers’ Association, Rugby Players’ Association, Court of Arbitration for Sport, Bank of Ireland, Bank of ­Scotland, Royal Bank of ­Scotland, North West ­Collaborative Commercial Agency (NHS Hub), The ­Manchester College, Bolton Community College