About Addleshaw Goddard LLP
Far from addled
Today's Addleshaw Goddard is the product of two major mergers which shook the legal world. Manchester's leading legal light, Addleshaw Latham & Sons, tied the knot with Leeds' Booth & Co in 1997, and in 2003 Addleshaws took over Theodore Goddard in the largest City union carried out by a national practice to date. Turning its back on the international expansion in vogue in the Square Mile at this time, Addleshaws set its sights on integration, improving profitability and muscling its way in to the City market. The strategy paid off, and it quickly turned its finances around, transforming its Â£11 million overdraft of 2003 into a Â£7.5 million surplus by 2005. Despite its financial nous, the firm was not above being good to its staff, introducing sharp pay rises across both London and regional offices in 2007, including a 21 per cent leap for its City assistants.
Treat you right
An overall reputation for generosity and good career development may be partly to thank for Addleshaws' tremendous 43-rank jump in The Sunday Times' list of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" in 2008, when it reached 40th place. It is also the only law firm to appear on both the "Top 50 Places Where Women Want to Work" and the "Top 100 Graduate Employers" rankings, in addition to the "Best Companies" list. But it's been a bit of a roller coaster for the firm -- after its huge climb up the Best Companies rankings in 2008, the firm fell off the list entirely in 2009.
In November 2008, Addleshaw Goddard was recognised for its diversity initiatives at Women of the Future and Race for Opportunity, the only law firm to receive recognition at both diversity events. The firm was honoured with the Aviva Woman of the Future Corporate Award for its encouragement of female talent. Judges drew particular attention to the firm's implementation of flexible working practices and support for women at the highest levels. The Race for Opportunity awards, which seek to showcase the best examples of business practice with regard to the development of black, Asian and minority ethnic talent, also commended Addleshaw Goddard. The firm was specifically acknowledged for its Diversity Access Scheme in the "Widening the Talent Pool" category.
Waste not, want not
Evincing its acumen in project finance matters, in September 2008, Addleshaw Goddard successfully closed a pioneering Â£2.3 billion Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement between the Ministry of Defence and the Holdfast Consortium. The consortium was appointed to enhance training and offer investment for accommodation at the Royal School of Military Engineering until 2038. The deal was noteworthy for its innovation, and the firm touts it as a model for a new generation of PPP projects. Since its origins in 1998, the deal evolved from a straightforward PFI contract into a more flexible model involving no external funders.
Addleshaws also won a coveted role advising the lenders in the Greater Manchester Waste PFI, Europe's largest waste PFI. The project, launched in 2007 and worth Â£3.8 billion, involves the upgrade of 25 recycling facilities in Greater Manchester and the construction of a power plant to burn residual waste. Addleshaw Goddard has advised Bank of Ireland, Lloyds TSB, BBVA and SMBC, as well as European Investment Bank and the Treasury's Infrastructure Finance Unit.
The firm is also advising Dunfermline Building Society, Scotland's largest mutual, in connection with the government's rescue package, through which Dunfermline's branches, deposits and some of its loan book were taken over by Nationwide Building Society at the end of March 2009.
Feeling the pinch
Sixteen employees at Addleshaw Goddard felt the credit crunch reach their doorsteps in late 2008, as the firm underwent a round of job cuts. While the firm emphasised that redundancies were a year-on-year occurrence and part of life for any successful law firm, it admitted that the particularly large number in 2008 were a direct result of the drop in global markets. Those made redundant were offered redundancy packages in line with length of service.
The new year brought more departures. In January 2009, the firm culled 19 lawyers from the partnership, with the cuts spread across the firm's offices and practices. And in May, the firm launched a redundancy consultation with 85 members of its support staff. The firm has also frozen salaries at 2008-2009 levels.
Turning to warmer climes
Stepping away from its traditional shyness of international operations, Addleshaw Goddard made moves to improve its international referral network in November 2008 and to develop its international secondment programme. Its plans included increasing the number of lawyers sent on secondment, while broadening the jurisdictions in which the secondment programmes take place. Australia and Korea were earmarked as additions of particular importance.
Demonstrating its seriousness about improving its referral network, Addleshaw Goddard brought a new player on board in December 2008. David Birch, formerly of Wragge & Co, having spent 30 years assisting major corporates from the UK and US invest in India, fit the bill nicely and joined Addleshaws to develop overseas clients and connections. Currently in possession of no branded offices overseas, Addleshaws is looking to set up a network of referral firms in India, and has been eyeing other opportunities in the Middle East and the Far East, driven primarily by its construction practice.
In May 2009, the firm's longtime managing partner, Mark Jones, became the firm's first chairman. His former role has been taken up by corporate head, Paul Devitt. Jones has said that one area of focus will be development of the firm's contentious practice. He also expressed interest in the opportunities available since the passage of the Legal Services Act and has not ruled out the possibility of external investment in the firm.
150 Aldersgate Street
London EC1A 4EJ
Phone: +44 (0)20 7606 8855
Chairman: Mark Jones
London, United Kingdom
Leeds, United Kingdom
Manchester, United Kingdom