The Lawyer UK 200 Rank38

Womble Bond Dickinson, the firm with possibly the most ridiculous name in a profession that has given the world Coffin Mew, Moon Beever and Wright Hassell, has a storied history. Dickinson Dees was Newcastle’s largest and most venerable law firm. Realising it had saturated its local market it ventured outwards in the mid-2000s, opening in York and on Teesside but showing little inclination to move further South or be anything other than a Northern firm, speculation that it needed a

Womble Bond Dickinson, the firm with possibly the most ridiculous name in a profession that has given the world Coffin Mew, Moon Beever and Wright Hassell, has a storied history.

Dickinson Dees was Newcastle’s largest and most venerable law firm. Realising it had saturated its local market it ventured outwards in the mid-2000s, opening in York and on Teesside but showing little inclination to move further South or be anything other than a Northern firm, speculation that it needed a London presence notwithstanding. As late as 2010 the stated goal was to be the ‘leading independent law firm outside London’.

Despite this unequivocal statement, it was not entirely a surprise when the firm merged with Bond Pearce in 2013. Dickinson Dees’s unchallenged dominance in Newcastle meant it was under no pressure to be the most dynamic of firms. In its latter years it gained a reputation for being a staid old-boys’ club and during the recession attracted criticism for laying off promising young talent in favour of an old guard of partners. A shake-up was most definitely in order and relocating the York office to Leeds, as the firm did in 2011, was not going to be enough.

Bond Pearce was not exactly an inspiring merger partner but with offices across the South of England (London, Bristol, Southampton and its historic home, Plymouth) it complemented Dickinson Dees’ profile nicely. It too had suffered in the recession, downsizing its personal injury practice and closing an Exeter office in the process, but it had also opened up in Aberdeen.

The new firm, Bond Dickinson, lasted five years before the arrival of North Carolina firm Womble Carlyle on the scene. The merger went live at the end of 2017 with Jonathan Blair, managing partner at Dickinson Dees since 2007, made co-CEO. He announced that the new firm will target domestic mergers in each of its jurisdictions for future growth.

Dickinson Dees managing partner Dickinson Dees senior partner
1987 Robert Dickinson
1990 Graham Wright (role created)
1997 Neil Braithwaite Graham White Bond Pearce managing partner Bond Pearce chair
1999 Simon Richardson
2005 Victor Tettmar
2007 Jonathan Blair Robin Bloom
2010 John Marshall Nick Page
Bond Dickinson managing partner Bond Dickinson chair
2012 Jonathan Blair Nick Page
Womble Bond Dickinson co-CEO Womble Bond Dickinson chair
2018 Jonathan Blair Simon Richardson

TRAINING CONTRACTS

What is the trainee salary at Womble Bond Dickinson?

1st year trainee: £34,000 (London); £25,000 – £28,000 (regions)

What is the NQ salary at Womble Bond Dickinson?

NQ: £60,000 (London); £37,500 – £42,000 (regions)