Shoosmiths at a Glance


  • “The quality and prestige of the clients”
  • Open plan offices and sociable culture
  • Quality of training


  • The salary
  • “The location of some of the offices”
  • “The work/life balance that the firm promotes is not always a reality”

The Buzz

  • “Personal injury led”
  • “Lost a lot of its brand appeal”

About Shoosmiths

Best known for its property work, Shoosmiths has also enjoyed significant growth in corporate, where it boasts successful mid-market M&A and AIM practices. Considered a powerhouse in legal expenses matters, particularly personal injury claims by clients of insurance companies, this division contributes a large slice of the firm's fee income.

Setting up shop

Shoosmiths has come a long way from its provincial roots and its founding in 1845. Shoosmiths had a widespread national office network and successful lines in debt recovery and personal injury by the beginning of the 21st century, but its real steps into the big league came with its opening of an office in Birmingham in 2003. The launch followed a major business review begun by Paul Stothard, who joined the firm as CEO in 2002. An accountant by trade, Stothard's corporate outlook helped fuel a strategy of growth that set the firm's sights on blue-chip clients. After setting up shop in Birmingham, Shoosmiths undertook a recruitment drive that targeted partners from leading national and City firms.

The firm continued to grow as the 2000s wore on, opening an office in Manchester in 2009, which initially focused on mortgage recovery work but has since grown to include corporate, real estate and personal injury practices. In Birmingham, the firm launched a banking finance team in 2008, a move that followed the addition of 31 people from local firm Cobbetts who made possible the creation of Shoosmiths' own social housing practice.

In August 2009, the firm appointed its first female leader in its 160-year history: Claire Rowe, a former trainee at the firm, now serves as its chief executive.

Corporate coups

Among Shoosmiths' best known clients in the corporate arena are a broad selection of retailers, such as Alliance Boots and McDonalds, as well as banking and insurance names like HBOS, ING Direct and Zurich. A number of automotive companies are also on the firm's roster, including Volkswagen Group, Ducati and Daimler Chrysler.

Other clients to join the Shoosmiths fold include Nationwide Building Society and National Exhibition Centre, for which the firm was appointed principle advisor in 2008, displacing Pinsent Masons, who had advised the NEC for 30 years. The firm also sits on two legal panels at Galliford Try, a construction and home building group, where it advises the Housebuilding and Regeneration & Affordable Housing divisions.


Shoosmiths earned the 2010 Innovation of the Year Award title from Intellectual Property Magazine in recognition of its part in establishing CAPIP.EU, a pan-European coalition of 23 law firms in 29 jurisdictions that offers IP services to rights holders to help them find and destroy counterfeit goods and piracy. Among the firm's highest-profile clientele are its design rights practice beneficiaries, including high-fashion designers like Chloé, Georgia Goodman and Jimmy Choo, whom Shoosmiths protects against counterfeiters and copycats. Shoosmiths has also provided pro bono services to the winners of the NewGen and Fashion Forward sponsorship schemes, which are awarded to promising British fashion designers.

Full speed ahead

After record high times during the financial year 2007-08, when its revenue broke the £100 million barrier for the first time, the recession made for rough going the following year, as net profits fell by 51 per cent. But the end of the decade brought an abrupt turnaround in profits, if not in turnover, with net profits lifting by an astounding 83 per cent and PEP returning to £256,000. Profits continued to climb in 2010-11, with PEP increasing by 38 per cent. The reason for Shoosmiths' dramatic financial recovery had a lot to do with cost-cutting measures introduced by Chief Executive Claire Rowe, who replaced Paul Stothard in 2009. These measures included redundancies, delayed or withdrawn training contracts, pay cuts and a new flexible working scheme. As Rowe explained, "We've changed our business focus toward profitability, not income."

Recent News

Chocolate heaven in 2011

When "yummy" chocolate maker and long-time client Thorntons decided to outsource its warehousing and distribution business, it turned to Shoosmiths for advice. In June 2011, the firm advised Thorntons on an outsourcing agreement with DHL that should save the high street company at least £5 million over the next six years. Thorntons, which is based in Alfreton, Derbyshire, became the largest free-standing chocolate maker in the UK after Cadbury was taken over by US food company Kraft in 2010.

Private equity push

Shoosmiths' private equity practice is making a play for the big-time, ranking in the top 10 of Unquote magazine's UK Private Equity Practice league tables for number of deals completed in 2010. And the firm's PE star continues to shine in 2011, with transactions including a £25 million investment by Bowmark in the management buy-out of Glenside Manor Healthcare and the buy-out of AIRCOM by H.I.G.

Employer wins

In early 2011, following a beauty contest with eight rival firms, Shoosmiths won a spot as the sole employment legal adviser to Kuehne + Nagel, a global provider of integrated supply chain solutions. With offices across the UK, Kuehne + Nagel provides seafreight, airfreight, road and rail logistics, and contract logistics. Just 10 days after its two-year appointment, Shoosmiths won two employment tribunals for its new client.

Home savings

The firm's social housing group has established a strong reputation for its work on innovative procurement. In 2010, Shoosmiths landed the job advising two consortia of social landlords-Central Housing Investment Consortium, whose members manage more than 50,000 affordable homes, and Efficiency East Midlands, whose members manage more than 113,000 homes-in a project aimed at saving money on purchasing materials for maintenance and development jobs.

Whittal's buys Oddbins wine shops

After wine retailer Oddbins went into administration in April 2011, Shoosmiths helped European Food Brokers Retail subsidiary Whittal's Wine Merchants purchase 37 Oddbins stores in England and Scotland, thereby saving more than 200 jobs. Shoosmiths had previously advised EFB-the largest family-owned independent alcohol retailer in Britain, founded by multimillionaire Raj Chatha-when it bought more than 100 of Wine Cellar's 180 high street Booze Buster, Simply Drinks and Simply Food and Drinks stores in 2009.

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The Lakes
Northampton NN4 7SH
Phone: +44 (0)8700 86 3000


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Chief executive: Claire Rowe
  • Total No. Attorneys 2011:

Major Office Locations

  • Reading, United Kingdom
  • Birmingham, United Kingdom
  • Manchester, United Kingdom
  • Southampton, United Kingdom
  • Nottingham , United Kingdom
  • Northampton , United Kingdom
  • Basingstoke, United Kingdom
  • Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
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