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Ward Hadaway enjoys another year of growth

LAW firm Ward Hadaway has recorded its fifth consecutive year of growth with annual turnover rising to a record £33.5m.

The UK Top 100 firm, which has offices in Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester, saw income rise once again in the year ended April 2014, against a background of intense competition in the legal sector.

Jamie Martin

Busy year – Ward Hadaway managing partner Jamie Martin.

The firm has seen growth of over 10% over the last two years, and over the last five years growth of 20%.  The firm now employs 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 has consolidated its position as one of the leading law firms for contentious business in the North, the firm’s Litigation Department now has a turnover of £16m representing just short of 50% of the firm’s turnover.

One of the firm’s best performing departments over the past year has been Ward Hadaway’s extensive Property Team.  The team which comprises more than 50 lawyers across the firm’s three offices, saw fee income grow by nearly 16% over the course of the year to the end of April 2014.

Ward Hadaway’s Property lawyers have been active 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.

Highlights included advising on a £160m school building programme – one of the last remaining Building Schools for the Future schemes – for Telford & Wrekin Council, advising on the Central Park mixed-use development scheme in Darlington and advising on the sale of two major property developments in Manchester for Allied London plc.

The firm also retained its title of PFI Law Firm of the Year in England in 2014 having first won the award in 2013.

Ward Hadaway’s Commercial Team has also been extremely busy over the past year, seeing income increase by just over 17%.

The team has been involved in a number of projects in the fast-growing energy sector, advising on a series of pioneering renewable energy developments at farms across the North and on schemes in the offshore, oil and gas and chemical sectors.

Ward Hadaway’s Corporate Team advised on a whole raft of deals during the year for clients including international companies, PLCs and venture capital investors with major transactions including the AIM flotation of Applied Graphene Materials, major investments in global specialist recruitment company Nigel Frank International and engineering specialists Express Engineering.

The firm ended calendar year 2013 ranked as the most active law firm in the North East for corporate transactions according to independent analysis from Experian Corpfin.

The past year saw significant investment from the firm in its operations across the North with significant recruitment including seven Partners, six Associates, two Consultants during the course of the year.

These new additions included lawyers with national reputations in their fields and further strengthened the firm’s service lines in areas including corporate, banking, commercial, tax, healthcare, public sector and family law.

In addition to bolstering teams in its offices in Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester, Ward Hadaway has also invested in the physical infrastructure over the course of year, doubling the size of its premises at The Observatory in Manchester city centre.

This reflected the considerable growth in the size of Ward Hadaway’s Manchester operation since its launch in summer 2012, and a 47% rise in fee income generated by the Manchester team.

Jamie Martin said: “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 founded 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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