Top 20 business law firm DWF has delivered a very strong half year performance achieving 57.5% year-on-year growth. The firm has announced a half year turnover figure of £93.6 million up from £59.4 million this time last year, exceeding its target and putting the firm on track to achieve its year end budget. Over 10% (£6 million) of DWF’s reported revenue growth is organic, the remainder stemming from the firm's merger with Fishburns and acquisition of Cobbetts, both in February 2013. Profitability is also up, with early figures indicating a significant increase on last year.
The firm has seen major growth in real estate where revenues from the 230-strong national practice have increased by 92% from £7 million to £13.5 million and now account for 15% of turnover. The firm significantly bolstered its real estate offering in May 2013 with the recruitment of a 12-strong three partner team from Eversheds in Newcastle comprising Eversheds’ former real estate head Adam Heather, former senior partner Adrian Stanley, and Gavin Jackson plus a further eight lawyers. Since then the firm has recruited additional real estate partners building real strength in depth with the appointments of partners Toby Askin and Melanie Williams in Birmingham; Lorraine Reader in London and Suzanne Gregson in Manchester.
The firm has seen particularly strong growth across its chosen industry sectors with revenues attributable to the transport sector up 81% compared to this time last year, and revenues associated with retail, food and hospitality up 87%. DWF’s focus on financial services now accounts for approximately 8% of the business and the firm is planning further major investment in the sector to support its growing financial services client base. The firm’s sector focus has helped secure new client wins including M&S and Metro Bank.
The firm has also driven increased income in insurance where revenues are up 34% from £30.6 million to £41 million amounting to 47% of the firm’s total revenue. DWF expects further growth in insurance having significantly strengthened its catastrophic and large loss personal injury and non-injury expertise with the hire of a 48-strong team including 11 partners from specialist insurance law firm Greenwoods last month. The acquisition, which further embeds DWF into some of the UK’s largest insurance businesses, deepens DWF’s existing personal injury capability with specialist expertise in catastrophic, large loss spinal, head and brain injury cases; non-injury work; employers’, public and product liability; jurisdictional claims; defence of motor prosecutions and motor claims. Recruited from Greenwoods, Deirdre Burgess, Steve King, Melanie Lewis, John Lezemore and Christine Winter have bolstered the firm’s insurance offering in London whilst Alex Puddy and Mike Suddards have strengthened DWF’s catastrophic personal injury offering in Manchester. Charles Ashmore, Tim Ingram, and Tanja Neuhoff are leading the firm’s new operations in Milton Keynes and Stephen Byass is bolstering DWF’s presence in Bristol.
DWF’s Managing Partner and CEO Andrew Leaitherland comments, “We’ve worked exceptionally hard to deliver what are, by all accounts, very robust half year results. We have experienced significant benefit already from our acquisitive phase over the last 12-18 to months and we’re now really beginning to gain traction in our chosen markets as our clients build increasing confidence in our ability to deliver exceptional client service at an affordable pricing point. We remain committed to employing the best people with a passion and commitment to go further for clients and over the last six months we’ve continued to invest in lateral hire opportunities, particularly in London and Birmingham, which will support further growth in the second half of the year, further deepening and broadening our sector offering to clients.”