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Income and profits rise at Ward Hadaway

LAW firm Ward Hadaway has seen annual turnover rise by more than 7% after seeing growth in all of its practice areas and offices.

Jamie Martin

Jamie Martin, managing partner at Ward Hadaway.

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 annual income rise by 7.2% to a record £35.8m in the year to the end of April 2016, outperforming the average growth achieved by the Top 100 UK Law Firms according to the recent report by Deloitte’s Professional Practice Group.

In the North East, the firm saw particularly marked growth in its Corporate, Commercial and Property departments, with a 41.5% jump in Corporate fee income the stand-out performer.

Across the firm as a whole, all five of Ward Hadaway’s departments – Litigation, Private Client, Corporate, Commercial and Property – grew their fee income during the course of the year.

The growth in income was also matched with a tight control on costs with the firm’s like-for-like profit margin rising to 32.2% and net debt reduced by 80.8%.

Ward Hadaway Managing Partner, Jamie Martin, said: “These are exceptionally good results for the firm, especially taking into consideration the fact that competition in the legal marketplace has arguably never been greater.

“Apart from excellent headline figures, what is most pleasing about these results is the fact that we are seeing growth right across the board and in all three of our office locations.

“We are proud to be a Northern based law firm for National Business and we have long believed that the key to our continued growth lies in our ability to operate across the North in line with the Government’s Northern Powerhouse Initiative and provide high quality legal support to companies, individuals and organisations across the country.

“I believe these latest results demonstrate the success of this approach and are a real tribute to the hard work, dedication and expertise of our people and the vision, determination and ambition of our clients.

“We will continue to invest in developing and recruiting talented, hard-working lawyers as we look to build further on our well-established track record of sustained success, which has now seen the firm grow by over 25% in the last five years alone.”

As well as seeing an impressive growth in its business during the course of the year to the end of April 2016, Ward Hadaway also chalked up a number of notable achievements in the legal industry.

The firm’s highly regarded Litigation department won a national legal award for the quality of its work in resolving disputes with Ward Hadaway being named UK Regional Law Firm of the Year in the Dispute Resolution category of the 2015 Legal 500 Awards in October 2015.

This national success followed significant regional recognition when Ward Hadaway won a hat-trick of titles at the inaugural Northern Law Awards, walking off with the awards for Property Team of the Year, Trainee of the Year for James Fairman and the Outstanding Achievement Award, won by Managing Partner, Jamie Martin.

Ward Hadaway’s Head of Intellectual Property Alex Shiel was named Partner of the Year at the Dynamites Awards, organised by North East IT and technology support organisation Dynamo, in October in recognition of more than 20 years’ work supporting IT and technology companies in the region.

During the course of the year, Ward Hadaway was also involved in some of the major deals seen in the North East, including the £17m extension to the Finance for Business North East Fund, the management buy-out at Europe’s leading specialist pen retailer The Pen Shop and Teesport owner PD Ports’ acquisition of an inland port complex.

The firm continued to attract leading lawyers in their specialist fields, in all three offices with recruitment of one of the North’s foremost Competition experts, Dean Murray who joined Ward Hadaway as a Partner in April this year from Square One Law, after more than 15 years advising companies and organisations in the private and public sectors on competition issues. His expertise includes extensive experience of EU and UK competition law, advising clients on contentious and non-contentious matters covering anti-trust issues, merger clearance and State aid.

Planning expert Kamran Hyder joined the firm as a Partner in March from Bond Dickinson, bringing with him more than 15 years’ experience in all areas of planning and highways law, and having previously advised on a number of major projects including the New Tyne Crossing and Newcastle Science Central.

Dean and Kamran are based in the Newcastle office but work across the whole North.

Jamie Martin said: “As well as attracting such high quality lawyers, we are also committed to developing and nurturing the next generation of legal talent which we have at the firm.

“This combination has served us well, not just over the past 12 months but over a number of years and during a time of ever-increasing competition in the legal services market.

“Whilst we are very pleased with these latest financial results, we remain vigilant and we will continue to keep a close eye on costs and on the marketplace as we look to build further on our success.”

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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