<a class=Michelmores” />Since opening a London office in 2006, Michelmores has seen a surge in the number of instructions it receives from national and international clients.

The Exeter-headquartered firm has increased turnover by an average of 20 per cent annually over the past five years. But aside from the London office, it maintains a strategy of growing its jurisdictional reach from a central hub.

“We’ve always focused on having concentrated sites and few locations,” says practice director Andrew Lovell, who adds that the appointment of former Speechly Bircham litigation partner Kathleen Wilson to the London office has accelerated the number of national instructions the firm receives.

Despite preferring to grow organically, Michelmores has made strategic lateral hires where necessary to boost its national reach.

Nevertheless, says Lovell, the firm operates a “train to retain” strategy of recruiting trainees nationally and putting in place a series of schemes to propel forward career development.

“We have a strong associate development programme in place,” says Lovell. “We want to create an environment that’s suitable for future managers.”

On average the firm recruits 10 trainees annually and aims to retain them all. In Exeter, where the firm has recently acquired 10,000sq ft of extra office space, Michelmores runs a full-service firm.

The commercial property practice accounts for 40 per cent of its work. Last year Michelmores partner Phillip Page acted for the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Estates arm on the £959m sale of the Chelsea Barracks to Project Blue (Guernsey).

The firm’s public sector practice accounts for 20 per cent of Michelmores and Lovell says the remainder of the practice is divided equally between its core areas.

The Sidmouth office concentrates on private client work, which tends to come from high-net-worth individuals who live locally.

Michelmores is now aiming to build up a series of niche practices in key areas, including leisure, education, care homes and financial services regulation.

Practice director: Andrew Lovell
Turnover: £17m (2007-08)
Number of partners: 35
Number of lawyers: 65
Number of fee-earners: 146
Main practice areas: Commercial property, public sector, projects, company commercial, dispute resolution, litigation, private client
Key clients: University of Exeter, Ministry of Justice, Met Office, Rok Property Solutions, Clydesdale Bank, Defence Estates, Arts Council, Bank of England
Number of offices: Three
Locations: Exeter, London, Sidmouth