Essex: Law firm Birkett Long to open third office in the county
ESSEX law firm Birkett Long has revealed plans to open a third office in the county after achieving double-digit growth in fee income for the past year.
The firm, which currently has offices in Colchester and Chelmsford, grew its fee income by 11% in the year to May 31, ahead of its own target and more than twice the average 4.5% growth reported by the Law Society Gazette for the UK’s top 100 law firms.
One of the factors behind the firm’s growth was the acquisition of law firm Weight Wolny and Trusler in June 2010 which strengthened its Chelmsford office.
Now, Birkett Long is targeting organic growth by opening a new office on the edge of Basildon to cover the south of the county where it already has a number of clients.
The new office will open next month and will initially be staffed by members of the firm’s existing team.
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It will be led by Martin Hopkins who specialises in employment law, with regular support from Tracey Dickens who specialises in commercial and corporate finance, Emma Wraight who specialises in commercial property and Marc Thurlow who specialises in commercial litigation.
However, managing partner Adrian Livesley said that, as it became clear which departments at the new office were achieving growth, additional professional staff were likely to be taken on in the next 12 to 24 months.
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Mr Livesley said: “We are delighted with such a strong performance by the whole team. One of the biggest challenges of the current economic climate is that so many sectors face recessionary conditions.
“But, as a full service law firm, our breadth of service across a wide range of specialist disciplines gives us a resilience which allows the business to thrive.
“This has been proven because every team across the firm has grown in the last financial year, rather than just one or two restricted areas.”
Mr Livesley said that he believed the firm was well placed to continue its success despite the changes facing the legal profession as a result of rules to allow “alternative business structures” which are expected to result in new entrants, such as supermarkets.
Birkett Long already had non-lawyers as directors for finance and business development, and so was already in some senses itself an “alternative” model.
“We have stuck to our long term strategy and our ambitious plans are proving successful,” he said. “There’s always going to be competition out there but we continue to offer a bespoke, one-to-one professional service rather than volume. Businesses and private clients are still prepared to pay for that expert advice.”
He added: “Part of our long term strategy has always been to branch out into the south of Essex and the new location is ideal for clients in Basildon, Southend and the A13/A127/M25 corridors.
“Although we have not previously had a physical presence in the south of the county we do represent a number of commercial and private clients in the area and we are looking forward to welcoming them to the new office.”