Walker Morris

The Scoop

Walker Morris is among few law firms that have built a national reputation from a single site outside London. Though it prides itself on the staff cohesion that comes from having a single office, Walker Morris is by no means a purely local firm. More than 70 per cent of the firm's clients are from outside of Yorkshire, the firm regularly leads cross-border teams and it has a strong Chinese trade practice.

Forward into the new millennium

Walker Morris traces its roots to the 1880s, but the early part of the 21st century has been of particular significance, with the firm more than quadrupling its size in a decade. The rapid growth was not without some setbacks, though. In 2006, the firm was forced to sell its volume business, and in 2007 it dissolved its matrimonial practice. Like other law firms, Walker Morris had to make a handful of redundancies during the recession of 2008-09, but Peter Smart, the firm's chairman at the time, opted to sacrifice partner profits in order to prevent more jobs from being lost. Walker Morris has since then begun to shift some of its focus to insolvency, helping it to recover and press forward.

One box, but outside it

The single office structure is not an accident; Walker Morris is intentionally non-conformist. The firm actively works to create a friendly environment, and encourages its lawyers to apply their skills creatively. While, like every other firm of its size, Walker Morris is divided into specialised disciplines, it does not pigeonhole fee earners into narrow niche practices. Instead the firms prefers a staff of generalists within their discipline, allowing them to provide a broader prospective than lawyers who have become too specialised.

As if to put a final non-conformist stamp on the firm culture, Walker Morris has sponsored an exhibit at the Leeds Art Gallery, featuring the work of Young British Artist Damien Hirst, noted for his unusual practice of turning dead animals into art.

Recent News

And now for a word from our sponsors

In August 2011, Walker Morris advised Amscreen in its acquisition of the marketing and sales operations of Digicom, a digital advertising firm with which it has worked for 10 years. Digicom had been Amscreen's exclusive sales partner for its network of 3,000 screens across the country. The screens serve as easily modified digital billboards, broadcasting advertisements to an estimated 25 million people a week. As a result of the deal, all of Digicom's 15 staff became employees of Amscreen.

I feel like Chicken Tonight

Walker Morris acted for Leeds-based food producer Symington's in a deal with Unilever worth an estimated £30-40 million. In August 2011, Symington's acquired from Unilever the UK and Irish rights to convenience food brands Ragu and Chicken Tonight, adding to a portfolio that already includes Campbell's, Granose, Mug Shot and Oat Burst. The acquisition marks Symington's first foray into the wet sauces market and is expected to increase the company's turnover by 25 per cent.

Lose less, Whinmoor

In December 2009, the Leeds City Council rejected a plan by Persimmon Homes and Taylor Wimpey for the building of a residential community in Whinmoor, on the north eastern edge of Leeds. The developers then sought the help of Walker Morris, and after a planning period that spanned several months, the Communities Secretary overturned the initial ruling and gave the project the green light in May 2011. When complete, the new community will have between 370 and 400 homes, as well as a number of community buildings and retail spaces to service the residence.

Teamwork of power

In February 2011, Walker Morris won an appointment to the National Grid's Legal Panel for Energy and Regulation. The new panel comprises six law firms, down from its previous size of eight. The reduction is part of the National Grid's overall plan to reduce its legal fees, which will also include fixed-price billing and an outside consultant to produce competitive rate cards. Prior to the appointment, Walker Morris provided advice to the Grid on its Liquefied Natural Gas importation and storage business.

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Walker Morris


Kings Court
12 King Street
Leeds LS1 2HL
Phone: +44 (0)113 283 2500
www.walkermorris.co.uk

STATS


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Chairman: Andrew Turnbull
  • Total No. Attorneys 2011: 170

Major Office Locations

  • Leeds, United Kingdom

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