Ward Hadaway sees annual turnover rise | 24 June 11

LEADING North law firm Ward Hadaway has seen its annual turnover climb as it looks to increase its presence across the region.

Figures show the UK Top 100 law firm recorded a 2.5% rise in turnover to £28.4m in the year to the end of April 2011, profits were stable at £8.25m.

The rise in turnover came despite the arrival of spending cuts across the public sector and against a backdrop of challenging economic conditions in the private sector.

The firm is continuing to invest across its operations and is expecting to further strengthen the line-up at its Newcastle office during the course of the coming year.

Jamie Martin, managing partner at Ward Hadaway, said: “This is a terrific performance from everyone at the firm.

“Increase in turnover at a time of great economic uncertainty is a real achievement and is a tribute to the hard work, dedication and talents of our people, and the confidence and loyalty of our clients.

“In common with the rest of the professional services sector, we have faced some stiff challenges in recent years as the financial crisis and the recession hit home.

“Whilst it is still too early to say that the economy has turned the corner, we are very encouraged by the excellent results of the last financial year and look forward to the future with confidence.”

During the course of the past year, the firm has extended the range of services it provides and attracted a number of highly-rated partners to join its ranks, with further lateral hires expected this year.

Ward Hadaway is now able to offer clients specialist advice when it comes to fraud in both the public and private sectors with the establishment of a specialist anti-fraud team.

Other highlights for the firm during the past year include a successful High Court challenge to the Governments cuts to its school building programme.

Karen Andrews, partner in the public sector team at Ward Hadaway, and Robert Glassford, partner in the firm’s commercial litigation team, led the Ward Hadaway team which successfully advised Nottingham City Council on its application for a judicial review of the Education Secretary’s decision to scrap the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.

The Education Secretary has now been ordered to reconsider his decision after consulting with Nottingham City Council and five other local authorities who took the Government to court.

The firm’s corporate finance department saw an upturn in activity during the year, advising on a number of investments from the £125m Finance for Business North East Fund, as well as high-profile deals including the acquisition of three European manufacturing sites for Newcastle-based pharmaceutical company Aesica and a multi-national deal valued at £150m for German food giant Sudzucker.

The department has also expanded with the recent appointment of Associate Charlie Fielding from the London office of Eversheds.

In addition to attracting high quality recruits from outside the firm, Ward Hadaway has continued to invest in its home-grown talent.

In 2011, the firm promoted nine Associates and a total of six existing Associates were promoted to the position of Partner. The move means Ward Hadaway now fields a total of 63 Partners amongst its staff of almost 400 people.

Ward Hadaway’s fast-growing operation in Leeds continued to perform strongly during the year and was further strengthened by the arrival of key hires including EU and Competition Partner Andrew Finfer.

Jamie Martin said: “There has been some terrific work carried out by our people in specialist teams right across the firm over the past year.

“They can be rightly proud of their achievements and we will be looking to continue and extend such successes over the year to come.

“We have some further exciting Partner recruitments in Newcastle and our other offices which we will be announcing during the year.”