Shadbolts presented Queen’s Award for international trade

Surrey practice Shadbolt & Co has become only the third law firm to win a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in recognition of its achievement in international trade.

The 22-partner firm follows in the footsteps of City heavyweights Allen & Overy and Norton Rose, which both won the award in 1999 for their export of legal services.

Shadbolts’ export earnings come from markets in Europe, Africa and the Far East and, according to the firm, have almost trebled in the past three years.

Dick Shadbolt, former head of construction at McKenna & Co, founded the firm 10 years ago as a niche construction practice. Other partners include McKenna & Co’s former Hong Kong head of construction George Rosenberg. McKenna & Co went on to merge with Cameron Markby Hewitt in 1996 to form Cameron McKenna.

The firm’s early reputation grew out of its work for construction clients, including providing advice on major projects in South Africa, the Middle East and Far East.

It now has offices in Reigate, London, Paris and Hong Kong, with the latter two focusing most heavily on construction, engineering and projects.

Last September, Shadbolts merged with two-lawyer practice Bryant Hamilton, acquiring an aviation, marine and insurance practice in the process. Its other main practice areas are corporate, property, employment, IT and e-commerce.

Commenting on the award, Shadbolt, now the firm’s senior partner, says: “International law is a demanding market and for a firm of our size to receive this is a tremendous boost.”

The firm has worked on many international projects including Hong Kong Airport, oil and gas installations in Nigeria and a project for Taiwan High Speed Rail.

Shadbolt says that the firm is considering opening more overseas operations, although no decision has been taken as to where.

The criteria for the annual award is that the organisation should have outstanding or continuous achievement in international trade, “resulting in substantial overseas earnings with growth and commercial success”.