Chadwick Lawrence

West Yorkshire firm Chadwick Lawrence posted a ­revenue of £10m for 2008-09, representing a slight increase on its performance the previous year.

Jeremy Garside

The 21-partner, 94-fee-earner firm might not be that well-known outside its immediate catchment area, but it is looking to change that.

The firm, which dates back to the 1840s when ­Benjamin Chadwick opened his first office in ­Dewsbury, has spent much of the past year refocusing its business mix on the commercial market.

Last year it sold off its entire legal aid matrimonial business to fellow Yorkshire firm Switalskis. ­Chadwick Lawrence still has a family group, but it is now focused on high-net-worth individuals.

The firm also opened a purpose-built office on the outskirts of Leeds at the M1 and M62 junction – ­convenient for the city.

“Our emphasis has shifted,” agrees Chadwick Lawrence property litigation head Michael Watson. “The key for us is to match the service and quality that clients get in the large regional city centres. That means offering specialised teams in areas such as insolvency, corporate or property, but at a lower cost.”

Watson joined the firm two and a half years ago from Eversheds. The property lawyer has also enjoyed stints at Nabarro and Beachcroft.

His experience at some of the UK’s largest firms has helped him convince Chadwick Lawrence’s ­partners that, at least in terms of recruitment, it does not help to hide your light under a bushel.

“Part of the problem was that no one knew who we were,” admits Watson. “That’s starting to change now, judging by the kind of clients we’re acting for.”

Earlier this year the firm hired two partners, Michael Crook and Paul Hirst, to specialise in corporate law and trust and probate respectively. Crook joined from Bradford’s Last Cawthra Feather, where he was a partner, while Hirst joined from Halliwells in Manchester, where he was head of trusts and estates.

Chadwick Lawrence has six offices covering the West Yorkshire region and is among the 20 largest firms in Yorkshire and Humberside.

Managing partner: Jeremy Garside
Turnover: £10m
Number of partners: 21
Number of equity partners: 12
Number of lawyers: 69
Number of fee-earners: 94
Number of offices: Six
Locations: Dewsbury, ­Halifax, Huddersfield, Morley, Pudsey, Wakefield
Main practice areas: ­Company and commercial, commercial litigation, ­commercial property, employment, family
Clients: Expect Distribution, Greenfield Produce, Kirklees Active Leisure, Kutchenhaus, Rowland Homes, Saint-Gobain