Freeth Cartwright plans Leeds expansion

Freeth Cartwright is eyeing expansion into Leeds after several years of growth through merger and lateral hires.

The Nottingham-headquartered firm’s chief executive Peter Smith told The Lawyer that Freeth Cartwright is looking at opening in Leeds this year, although it had not yet identified suitable premises or a team to launch with.

“This year we’re planning to open up in Leeds – it’ll depend on the opportunities,” he said.

The plans follow several years of growth, during which the firm has opened in London (26 April 2010) and expanded in Birmingham (12 October 2011), as well as merging with Milton Keynes firm Kimbells (16 September 2011).

Last year Freeth Cartwright took a stake in Oxford firm Henmans, with plans to fully integrate the two in due course (8 October 2012).

The firm already has a base in Yorkshire city Sheffield, launched in May 2012, and earlier this year scooped several sub-panel spots on the combined West Yorkshire council panel review run by Kirklees Council (11 June 2013).

Freeth Cartwright’s financial figures for the 2012/13 financial year show solid growth, breaking through the £40m barrier to £40.6m compared to £36.7m in 2011/12, a 10.6 per cent increase. Last year’s figures include the first full year of integration with Kimbells and earlier merger partner KJD Freeth.

Smith said underlying growth in the core business was 7 per cent.

Average profit per equity partner (PEP) rose by 4.5 per cent from £247,000 to £258,000, with net profit hitting £8.7m, up 10 per cent from £7.9m in 2011/12. The firm’s profit margin is now 21.4 per cent.

The firm now employs over 480 people, including 194 lawyers and 99 partners – up from 91 in the previous year.

Smith said Freeth Cartwright would continue to look for merger opportunities and was planning for further expansion and profit growth.