One of the UK's top 60 law firms by turnover and the largest law
firm in the North East, Dickinson Dees boasts more than 200 years
of history. With three offices outside its native Newcastle and an
office planned for Leeds, the firm is extending its reach across
Dickinson Dees can trace its ancestry back as far as the
founding of Griffith and Co in 1786 and the establishment of Dees
and Thompson, which came into existence around the turn of the 19th
century. The Dickinson family got its start in the legal practice
in 1859 with Robert Dickinson, who practiced in the Royal Arcade.
Today's Dickinson Dees can count five generations of Dickinsons
connected to the firm. The ancestral lines finally came together in
1975 when Dickinson Miller & Turnbull and Dees & Thompson
Griffith & Co merged into Dickinson Dees.
In 1998, the firm reached beyond Newcastle with the opening of
an office in Tees Valley. In 2007, Dickinson Dees opened offices in
York and London. Most recently, the firm has secured space in Leeds
city centre, where it plans to set up shop in 2012.
Staying on top
Dickinson Dees is known for its strong property practice and in
recent years has seen solid growth in its corporate, litigation and
private client practices. Throughout its history, Dickinson Dees
has acted as a representative for a larger number of landed estates
and large businesses, and was engaged in the transfer of mineral
rights from its clients to the National Coal Board. Today, the
Dickinson Deeds private client department holds title deeds to more
than one third of the land in Northern England.
Dickinson Dees was a founding signatory to the Law Society's
Diversity and Inclusion Charter and worked on the Law Society's
Diversity Standards and Toolkit. The firm is active in mentorship
programs for ethnic minorities, and won the 2011 Mentor of the Year
award from the National Mentoring Scheme. Dickinson Dees also
participates in the PRIME program, which focuses on providing
workplace opportunities to people from disadvantaged
Dickinson Dees offers a wide variety of charitable fundraising
activities, including standard fare such as raffles, bake sales and
auctions (hosted on an e-Bay type site dubbed DDbay). Among more
unusual fundraising techniques, the firm offers days where staff
can pay £1 for the privilege of dressing casually, or face a £2
penalty for not doing so.
The play's the thing
In September 2011, Dickinson Dees signed a deal with the
Northern Stage (formerly Newcastle Playhouse) to provide production
sponsorship for the next four years. The deal continues Dickinson's
20 years of support for the theatre.
Dickinson Dees advised on and brokered a merger between
Mechanical Engineers Flow Matters and Technical Ex Services. The
two companies specialised in mechanical and electrical engineering
for the energy sector, making the newly formed ENEX Group the
leading energy services company in the North East. The merger was
completed in September 2011.
Dickinson Dees' reputation in the education sector has earned it
recognition as one of the top legal advisors by Education
Investor Magazine. In August 2011, Dickinson Dees was
appointed to a panel of advisors to the Leeds City College, the
third-largest further education college in the UK. The firm will
provide advice on property law, contracts, employment law, student
issues and other general legal issues.
One year earlier, Dickinson Dees facilitated a
multimillion-pound agreement between the University of York and the
Leeds-based Evans Property Group. The two formed a joint venture to
own and run the new Goodricke College on the university's campus at
Heslington East. The deal allows the university to recoup some of
its capital investments while still maintaining a degree of control
over Goodricke, and a share of its future earnings.
Dealing with the economy
Despite a global debt crisis and a fairly stalled economy,
Dickinson Dees saw an uptick in transactions in 2010-11. The firm
advised on share sales, private equity investments and public
offerings with a combined value of £2.4 billion in the 12-month
period ending in March 2011. Among the clients on these
transactions were industrial and medical engineering company Metal
Spinners Group, temporary accommodation business Procomm Site
Services and energy engineering company Wilton Group.
In June 2010, Dickinson Dees secured a three-year position on
the UK's largest public sector legal panel, a consortium of nine
London boroughs and five Kent districts. The consortium was
established to enable participating councils to share in the
procurement of legal services, thereby reducing costs. Other local
authority appointments for the firm include the London Boroughs
Legal Alliance, which consists of 10 London boroughs; the Tyne and
Wear Legal Framework, which covers five North East jurisdictions;
and a panel in the North West comprising 20 authorities.