LAW firm Ward Hadaway has reported a “solid” performance as it reveals its annual results
The UK Top 100 law firm, which has offices in Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester and which employs more than 450 people across the North, saw its income steady at just short of £36 million pounds in the year to the end of April 2017.
The firm has seen 26% growth over the last 10 years and reports that work volumes across the firm rose by 3% in the year to the end of April 2017.
Profits also remained on track despite significant investment in facilities and personnel across all three offices.
Ward Hadaway Managing Partner, Jamie Martin, said: “We are very content that income remains steady across all of our departments and offices in what was a somewhat difficult year for the British economy.
“Uncertainties caused by Brexit and the political situation in a number of countries including our own have affected the legal market place and so to be able to report a 3% increase in volume is a more than satisfactory outcome.
“It is also particularly pleasing to report that profit remained relatively strong, despite the significant investment which we made over the course of the year.
“Continuing to invest in our operations is vital to the ongoing success of the firm and is something we remain committed to going forward.”
In its North East heartland, Ward Hadaway’s investment included the recruitment of a number of experienced lawyers to help continue its growth across the firm, lawyer cohort increased by 7% and demonstrating the firm’s commitment to the future.
Partner Stefan Bainbridge returned to the firm to head up the specialist rural land and estates team, bringing with him more than 15 years’ experience advising on all aspects of rural property and countryside issues.
A specialist insurance team – Consultants Paul Hughes and Chris Smith – joined Ward Hadaway, bringing a combined experience of over 30 years advising insurers, companies and local authorities on claims against them.
Another new addition during the year in the Newcastle office was Consultant Mitch Brown, an acknowledged national expert on housing development, delivery and investment.
Ward Hadaway’s renowned Corporate team enjoyed a very busy year, advising on a string of high-profile deals both within the North East and outside the region including the sale of Cramlington-based online holiday company sunshine.co.uk to On The Beach plc, the sale of leading care home group Helen McArdle Care to national operator HC-One and the management buy-out of outdoor clothing retailer Weird Fish.
As well as carrying out transactions, Newcastle Corporate Partner Robert Thompson also found time to edit the book on doing deals for the fifth time in a row.
Robert edited the tenth edition of Sinclair on Warranties and Indemnities on Share and Asset Sales, a leading reference book widely regarded as the key text on corporate transactions subject to English law. The latest edition of the text came out in April 2017 and was the fifth one edited by Robert.
Head of Corporate Martin Hulls was named Corporate Lawyer of the Year in the North East Insider Dealmakers Awards in September 2016 while the Corporate team also triumphed in the recent Northern Law Awards 2017, winning Corporate & Commercial Team of the Year at a ceremony which also saw Ward Hadaway’s Employment team in Newcastle named as Employment Team of the Year.
Continuing the award-winning theme, last autumn the firm’s property team won a national award as they were named UK Regional Law Firm of the Year in the Legal 500 Awards 2017.
An example of the property team’s leading edge capabilities can be seen by the work of its specialist ‘Plot Sales Team’, which advises housebuilders on the sale of newly completed homes and on part-exchange transactions with home buyers.
The team successfully completed the sale of 3,336 new homes in the 12 months to the end of April 2017 at new development sites across the country, a figure which represents 1 in 50 of all new homes build in England during the period.
The national standing of Ward Hadaway’s healthcare team was demonstrated in two high-profile appointments earlier this year.
The firm was reappointed by NHS Resolution to provide legal advice to organisations across the NHS on both defending clinical negligence and on regulatory, health and disciplinary matters for the next four years – one of only eight law firms across the country to be chosen for both of these areas.
Ward Hadaway also won a place on the North of England Commercial Procurement Collaborative (NOE CPC), whose members comprise more than 80 healthcare organisations across the country.
The firm’s Commercial team demonstrated its commitment to providing forward-thinking guidance to businesses with a trade visit to China last summer and a series of articles, briefings and comments on Brexit and its potential effects on companies and the wider economy.
Looking to the future of Ward Hadaway, Jamie Martin said: “The firm will continue to invest in people and in our infrastructure, we have confidence in the individuals that make up our business and the loyalty of our clients.
“We are proud to be a ‘Northern based Law Firm for National Business’ and we look forward to benefiting from a political commitment to the Northern Powerhouse as we support our clients’ ambitions across the North.
“We believe that there is a place for mid-sized commercial law firm dedicated to the North and to the markets we serve and our recent commitment to our independence supports that vision.”