Shakespeares brings in ex-Serco BD head to smash £50m barrier

Shakespeares has appointed a new managing director to help the firm achieve its ambition of breaking the £50m turnover barrier.

Paul Wilson
Paul Wilson

Former Serco group strategy and business development director Nick Brown has been brought in as managing director to work alongside fellow non-lawyer chief executive Paul Wilson.

Brown’s role will include driving the firm’s operational efficiency to make the most of its series of recent mergers.

Wilson said the rapid expansion of the firm, which has sealed six mergers in the past five years, has prompted the move, adding that Brown has been hired to continue its growth plans.

The firm’s £50m tie-up with Harvey Ingram has cemented its place as the Midlands second largest law firm behind Wragge & Co (23 July 2012), with the enlarged firm also posting its best-ever turnover and profitability figures in the last financial year (22 October 2012).

Like Wilson, Brown has taken on equity partner-equivalent status at the firm and will have responsibility of running the day-to-day business.

Wilson said that will free him up to work closely with the “ambitious partnership” to look at opportunities outside the firm to “continue to build a unique and larger business”.

He said: “If we planned to stay at £50m we wouldn’t need to bring Nick on board. But since we started this project we’ve always invested to stay ahead of the curve. We brought in Hamish Munro [former chief executive of Guildhall Chambers] and now we’ve added Nick to bring in his experience with infrastructure on a large scale.

“If we want to accelerate growth then we need a completely different skillset. The scale of our ambition gets bigger every time we do something in the market.”

Brown will be chair of the firm’s operational management board and will also sit on the long-term strategy board at Shakespeares.

Brown will now work with Wilson on reviewing plans for the next six months, with further mergers and acquisitions likely to be on the agenda.

Wilson said: “We’ll review exactly what we’re capable of doing. We’re stretching ourselves and acquisitive and have no intention of pausing or stopping.”

Wilson believes having two non-lawyers in the most senior roles gives the firm an “innovative mindset” and a “competitive edge”.

Brown, who has a background in group strategy and business development through seeking new markets and growth opportunities, added: “This is the structure we need to handle the future growth of the business.

“As organisations grow either organically or by merger, there will be pains. My objective is to avoid the growth pains.

“This is a firm that has substantial momentum and achieving the right balance in terms of its focus on quality, expertise and commercial good sense. There are real opportunities to strengthen the firm further and I look forward to working with the team to realise these.”