By Robin Bloom
THE publication of this year’s Legal 500 sees Dickinson Dees once again dominating the legal scene in the North-East across the board in 27 categories, reinforcing our reputation for quality and service excellence.
It has certainly been a very significant – and high-achieving – year for the firm and we look forward to building on this success in the years to come.
Last year, we achieved an annual turnover in excess of £50m and advised on deals worth over £7bn, underlining our position as one of the most successful regionally-based law firms in the UK.
Our major transactions have included the £506m takeover of Reg Vardy by Pendragon, Huntsman Petrochemicals’ sale of its UK petrochemical business to Sabic Petrochemicals, a £40m PFI project for Newcastle City Council to rebuild two of the city’s libraries, advising South Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council in relation to the redevelopment of South Shields town centre and the provision comprehensive legal advice to the University of Northumbria for the £100m campus development in the city centre.
We continue to make our mark as a trusted counsel to leading organisations in both the public and private sectors with key projects such as advising Newcastle City Council on their£180m Building Schools for the Future programme which will see the delivery of eight new schools across Newcastle, each with outstanding new facilities which will transform teaching and learning in the region.
We maintain our dedication to support local small to medium sized businesses through our burgeoning kudos service whereby the firm is committed to increasing its business mentoring work across the region.Our sponsorship of the North East Business Executive of the Year Awards and the provision of legal advice on projects such as the £500m venture to reinvigorate and rejuvenate the Tyne and Wear Metro reinforce this commitment to support the local business community.
As an organisation, we firmly believe in the need to develop regional attractions in order to boost the local economy and enrich its cultural offering.
Throughout 2007 we have maintained our strong commitment to the North-East region through key programmes and initiatives such as the sponsorship of the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art and renewed support for Northern Stage and Tees Pride. Over the last 12 months we have completed some of the most important corporate deals in the region.
Indeed, only this week, we have been recognised by the local business community as Corporate Law Team of the Year at the North East Dealmakers of the Year awards. Winning this award is a great achievement not just for the corporate team, but for the many teams throughout the firm whose continued support has contributed to winning this award.
We are very proud of our North-East heritage where we already compete effectively on a national and international stage. The opening of our York and London offices complements the breadth of services that we already deliver from our Newcastle headquarters.
Our commitment to our staff is a crucial factor in our success as we continue to invest in our people and resources in order to provide the most rounded and in-depth services to our clients. Our home-grown lawyers are a credit to the region, whilst our growing national reputation has seen us attract new recruits from leading national law firms. This mix of legal talent is a winning combination.
As this year’s Legal 500 underlines, we set consistently high standards across all sectors and in all disciplines. The challenge for the year ahead is to continue to exceed these standards – a task that we will approach with confidence – but not complacency.
Legal 500 praises us for our “national reputation for excellence and a nationwide client base”. We will build on this reputation, but we will never forget our roots. We are proud to be an integral part of the region’s business community, whilst continuing to be a standard bearer for the North East on the national stage.
Robin Bloom is senior partner at Dickinson Dees, a Top 50 national law firm.