Law firm Ward Hadaway has marked its fifth consecutive year of growth with annual turnover rising to a record £33.5m.
The UK Top 75 firm, which has offices in Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester, increased turnover from £33m to £33.5m in the year ended April 2014, a small rise of 1.5% against a background of intense competition in the legal sector.
The firm said it has seen growth of over 10% over the last two years, with that figure doubling to 20% over five years, and headcount now stands at almost 450 people across the North.
Jamie Martin, managing partner of Ward Hadaway, said: “Competition in the legal market place is intensifying with the arrival of new entrants and existing firms looking to grow their market share as a result of consolidation, set against that backdrop and the need to keep costs under control, the fact that we have continued to grow our business across all three offices is very pleasing, with a number of practice areas seeing significant growth.”
The firm, which has its headquarters in Newcastle said it has consolidated its position as one of the leading law firms for contentious business in the North by securing revenues of £16m within the firm’s litigation department, representing just short of 50% of the firm’s total turnover.
The 50-strong property team was heralded as being one of the best performing departments, growing income by almost 16% through work in both private and public sectors, advising clients including major national supermarket chains, national housebuilders and commercial developers, NHS organisations and councils undertaking large-scale building schemes.
The firm also retained its title of PFI Law Firm of the Year in England in 2014 having first won the award in 2013.
Within the company’s commercial team, incomes increased by just over 71% having been involved in energy sector projects, including a series of renewable energy developments at farms across the North and on schemes in the offshore, oil and gas and chemical sectors.
The corporate team advised on a raft of deals during the period, for clients including international companies, PLCs and venture capital investors with transactions including the AIM flotation of Redcar-based Applied Graphene Materials and major investments in recruitment company Nigel Frank International and engineering specialists Express Engineering.
The firm said significant investments have also been made into its operations, with recruitment including seven partners, six associates and two consultants.
Its Manchester premises at The Observatory was also doubled in size.
Jamie Martin added: “There are certainly challenges ahead and we remain vigilant; on costs, competition in the legal sector and the shape that the economic recovery is taking, but we look forward to the future with confidence and to continuing to provide high quality, accessible legal services to our clients from all three of our offices across the North.
“Unlike some of our competitors we have continued to grow our workforce and to provide additional high quality jobs by investing in the regional economies of the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside, and the North West.
“Ours is a story of a business headquartered in Newcastle, taking its expertise to other parts of the country, whilst growing in its home territory.
“We are immensely proud of this achievement.
“We have had an extremely busy year across all three of our offices in the North as we continue to fulfil our vision of being a ‘Northern law firm for National Business’.”
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