SJ Berwin: we’ll be a finance firm by 2015

SJ Berwin is planning to reposition itself as a finance firm within three years and aims to double the partner count in its City finance team.

Jeremy Cross
Jeremy Cross

It follows the demise of the firm’s traditionally strong funds, private equity and real estate practices, which have been hit by the downturn and key partner exits.

It aims to increase its finance partner count from six to 15 in an area that saw a 36 per cent turnover hike between 2009-10 and 2010-11, from £17.1m to £23.3m.

“The aim is to grow by bringing in more laterals as well as internal promotions,” finance head Jeremy Cross said. “We’ll be looking at 14 or 15 partners in a relatively short period. I hope we’ll be seen as a finance firm, among other things.”

He admitted that the firm has “good people but needs more” and said he expects a rise on the 60 per cent of clients that come directly to the practice rather than from elsewhere in the firm.

This is not the first time SJ Berwin has targeted growth in finance. Cross said four years ago that he aimed to double the global finance count from 16 to 32 in five years (The Lawyer, 23 July 2007), but the credit crunch scuppered his plans.