LAW firm Ward Hadaway has seen its annual turnover break the £30m barrier for the first time as it enjoyed a fourth consecutive year of growth.
Figures from the UK Top 100 law firm show that turnover in the year to the end of April 2012 grew by 6% to £30m with profit rising by 9% to a record £9m.
Ward Hadaway, which has offices in Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester, says the record results are a reflection of the firm’s commitment to client service and its continued investment in expanding its operations across the North.
Jamie Martin, managing partner at Ward Hadaway, said: “These excellent results are the product of a great deal of hard work, talent and dedication from everyone at Ward Hadaway.
“To have achieved record figures for both turnover and profit in what remains a distinctly challenging time for the professional services sector and for the economy as a whole is an exceptional performance.
“More importantly, this demonstrates the trust and faith which a growing number of clients in the private and public sectors are placing in the ability of our people to help them to achieve their objectives.
“We will continue to work hard to meet and exceed our clients’ expectations as we look to build the firm further and to strive for greater success.”
During the course of the past year, Ward Hadaway has extended and strengthened the specialist services which it provides to clients, as well as attracting a number of highly-rated partners to join its ranks.
New recruits over the year included leading commercial lawyer Mark Whitehead, former Northern Rock (Asset Management) plc head of litigation Julie Huntingdon, nationally recognised licensing expert Richard Arnot and leading private client lawyer Gaynor Jackson, all of whom joined the firm as Partners based in the Newcastle office.
Ward Hadaway’s corporate finance team enjoyed a successful year, working on over £1bn worth of deals during 2011.
Highlights during the year included the firm advising fast-growing Newcastle-based pharmaceutical company Aesica on a major investment in the business by European private equity firm Silverfleet Capital, advising on the English side of the acquisition of Dublin-based Integral Computers Limited and advising Washington-based Tanfield Group on a share placing on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange.
Ward Hadaway’s corporate finance experts have also continued to advise on a string of investments in innovative businesses by the £125m Finance for Business North East Fund.
Elsewhere, the firm’s extensive Employment Law team had a busy year as its client base of national and international businesses and organisations continued to grow while Ward Hadaway’s Company and Commercial team advised a wide range of companies on ventures in a variety of industries, including the technology, energy, offshore and oil and gas sectors.
In the public sector, the firm continued to win significant new work and attract major new clients with its commitment to providing quality services and value for money for taxpayers.
In December 2011, Ward Hadaway was appointed to advise on a prestigious £160m school building programme for Telford & Wrekin Council in the West Midlands, one of the few Building Schools for the Future projects to survive Government cuts in spending on school buildings.
The firm’s recruitment of education specialists Partner Graham Shaw and Associate Louise Castle in January 2012 has also led to a string of instructions to advise on the new wave of academy schools.
Ward Hadaway’s long-standing involvement in the health sector was also boosted in the autumn of 2011 when the firm was chosen by the HealthTrust Europe framework to sit on its panel offering legal advice to around 60 NHS Trusts in London, the West Midlands and the South of England.
Ward Hadaway also received the acknowledgement of the legal industry over the past year. Partner and Head of Property Neil Robson was shortlisted for the prestigious national Solicitor of the Year award in the Law Society Excellence Awards 2011 while the firm’s specialist Creative Industries team won a Highly Commended accolade for Excellence in Innovation in the same awards for its pioneering work with a range of artists, designers, musicians and other creative businesses.
In addition to strengthening its Newcastle base, Ward Hadaway also significantly expanded operations in its other offices across the North.
Five new Partners – corporate finance lawyer Gavin Maddison, property expert Andrew Pliener, employment lawyer Richard Port, commercial and IT expert Gareth Yates and education specialist Graham Shaw – joined the Leeds office during the course of the past year.
In addition, a four-strong Corporate Recovery and Insolvency team led by Consultant Steven Frieze and a three-strong Private Client team led by Consultant Gordon Watson joined the Leeds office at the start of 2012.
The expansion in the thriving Leeds operation since it was first established in summer 2008 led to Ward Hadaway doubling the size of its office space in the Yorkshire during the course of the year.
In Manchester, the firm added to its successful Creative Industries team with the recruitment of a raft of new Partners, adding a range of new services on offer to clients in the North West.
Employment Law Partners David Parry and Daniel Rubin, Corporate Finance Partner Melanie Yeomans, Property Partner Andrew Dunn and Commercial Litigation Partner Tony Winterburn all joined the firm over the past year and have already made an impact in the local market.
Further hires are expected over the coming year at all three of Ward Hadaway’s offices as the firm pursues its strategy of being a Northern law firm for national business.
Jamie Martin said: “This has been a year of real progress for Ward Hadaway despite the backdrop of challenging economic conditions.
“We are committed to continuing to invest in our people and our operations and these results give us great confidence as we look forward to the coming year.”
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