The Lawyer UK 200 Rank39

Previously a respected insurance and reinsurance firm, the repositioning of Reynolds Porter Chamberlain (or RPC as it prefers to be known these days) began in 2006 when the firm moved away from unlamented offices in Holborn to the far more impressive Tower Bridge House. Two years later Jonathan Watmough became managing partner and under his leadership the firm continued the process of positioning itself as a much more commercial outfit, less reliant on insurance litigation. Insurance work does remain a

Previously a respected insurance and reinsurance firm, the repositioning of Reynolds Porter Chamberlain (or RPC as it prefers to be known these days) began in 2006 when the firm moved away from unlamented offices in Holborn to the far more impressive Tower Bridge House. Two years later Jonathan Watmough became managing partner and under his leadership the firm continued the process of positioning itself as a much more commercial outfit, less reliant on insurance litigation.

Insurance work does remain a big part of RPC’s practice. The firm let an insurance-focused Tiverton office merge into Kennedys in 2008 but opened in Bristol in 2012 with the hire of insurance lawyers from CMS Cameron McKenna. Insurance work has decreased from about 85 per cent of the firm’s practice to about 45 per cent as of 2017.

International expansion has come through office openings in Singapore in 2011 and Hong Kong in 2012. It also entered into a joint venture with Singapore’s Premier Law in 2016 as part of plans to cash in on banking litigation work in the region and double the size of its Singapore practice.

In a bid to be seen as less traditional, the firm has run some eye-catching graduate recruitment campaigns in recent years. It has also experimented when it comes to people management, scrapping its flat rate salary for newly qualified (NQ) solicitors in September 2014 and replacing it with a merit-based system, then doing away with associate performance reviews and axing bonuses in favour of higher basic salaries. A ‘director of futures, strategy and animation’, hired in 2015 to explore what the workplace of the future might look like, has since departed but made an impression while he was in place.

The current RPC managing partner is James Miller, a former osteopath. He has said that the firm’s “fiercely independent” nature rules out merger talks in the near future and that international expansion is still the goal.