Browne Jacobson expands into South West with Exeter launch

Browne Jacobson has cemented a record year of growth by launching in the South West with a 25-strong team hired from local firm Veitch Penny.


The deal involved Brown Jacobson buying the lease of Veitch Penny’s four-floor Exeter office and sub-letting two of the floors back to the local firm.

The defendant insurance and employment practices team transferring to Brown Jacobson includes head of insurance Mark Fowles and partner Jo Pruden, whose clients include the NHS Litigation Authority, Devon County Council, Travelers Insurance and Gallagher Bassett.

Midlands-based Browne Jacobson moved to the brink of the top 10 biggest regional firms in 2011-12 with a 17 per cent increase in turnover from £35.2m in 2010-11 to £41.3m in 2011-12. It was the firm’s highest year-on-year increase in a decade and managing partner Iain Blatherwick said it was all organic growth (13 August 2012).

The launch in Exeter follows an opening in Manchester and double-digit growth in Nottingham, Birmingham and London in 2011-12.

In a statement, Blatherwick said: “We’ve been keen to expand our national footprint into the South West and the opening of the Exeter office is a significant investment for us, underpinning our ambitious expansion plans.

“Our new city centre location provides the ideal strategic position for the firm to provide a comprehensive range of first-class legal services to clients, with a particular focus on health, insurance, education and the public sector.

“The city’s credentials and prospects as a thriving commercial and administrative centre was a key factor in our decision in choosing Exeter. The recent investments by corporate banking giant Santander and upmarket retailer John Lewis demonstrates its ability to attract some of the country’s leading businesses whilst supporting a thriving SME sector.

“We believe the region offers tremendous growth opportunities and we’re looking forward to fully participating in the vibrant business and cultural life of the region.”

Veitch Penny has an estimated turnover of around £3.5m and is an LLP with the Exeter office driven by personal injury litigation and the smaller Crediton office led by senior partner Ian Penny (24 January 2011).

The firm recently lost its place on the panel advising The Metropolitan Police when the authority made cutbacks on external lawyers (22 March 2012).

The opening of the Exeter office will bring the total number of employees at Browne Jacobson to 648, including 81 partners and 256 other lawyers.

It is expected to add on an extra £1m in revenue in the next 12 months.