Shakespeares on recruitment hunt after post-merger boost

Shakespeares is set to embark on a recruitment drive in 2013 following its October merger with Midlands neighbour Harvey Ingram, with the first recruit Reed Smith’s UK product liability head Paul Llewellyn.

Llewellyn joins the Nottingham office in January as principal partner in product liability and regulatory advice. He specialises in medical devices industry, pharmaceutical, bio sciences and life sciences.

Commercial director Hamish Munro, who worked with Llewellyn at Eversheds, said: “Our commercial team has a very experienced patent litigation practice, but we do not have a well-developed product liability and regulatory practice. Paul is adding considerable ballast to that practice.”

Llewellyn’s hire follows 54 redundancies recently confirmed in areas of duplication following the Harvey Ingram merger, which took effect on 1 October.

The firm cut 13 fee-earners and 41 back office roles at the same time as closing three smaller offices in Bedford, Shipston-on-Stour and Moreton-in-Marsh. Employees moved to nearby Stratford-upon-Avon or Milton Keynes, with 11 of the 54 roles cut (5 September 2012).

The firm axed a total of 27 from the Leicester office, where it still trades as Harvey Ingram where its brand is better recognised. It , six from Birmingham, four frpm Milton Keynes, three form Solihull, two from Nottingham and one from Newport Pagnell.

Munro said the next 12 months will be about “reaping the benefit” of the Shakespeares Harvey Ingram merger and bringing in 20 “high-calibre” recruits, with two thirds of them lawyers.

The firm is looking to add numbers in HR, finance and general management, but is also going after quality lawyers to bring in and keep the biggest regional and national clients.

Munro added: “We are recruiting for almost all divisions, property, personal injury, corporate, litigation and private client.

“Most of these opportunities have been identified from the post merger strategic review and are clearly areas where there is considerable demand for our services. They are necessary just in order to resource the level of work offered.”

Munro said the first six months of the 2012/13 financial year put the newly-enlarged firm on target for a full-year income of £40m. He said the firm had hit 99 per cent of its half-year budget.

Chief executive Paul Wilson has consistently stated his aim to grow the firm to a £50m entity by 2014.

He said: “2012 has been a positive year of change for the firm – a year in which we have now consolidated our position as the second largest law firm in the Midlands, continued to pursue our successful growth strategy and enriched our expertise across a diverse range of commercial legal practices.

“We want to be recognised as a courageous, dynamic law firm that it is well-equipped to respond to the needs of the marketplace – delivering good quality legal services efficiently and to a very high standard.

“We are particularly proud of the calibre of our people and are now actively recruiting new people to join the firm with some 20 current vacancies advertised across almost all legal divisions.”