In The Times Best Law Firms 2022 report, Bevan Brittan’s Commercial Property practice was commended as a standout area.
What makes this a standout year for you and your teams?
First and foremost, we saw a seamless transition from the start of the pandemic in March 2020, which enabled us to continue delivering our unwavering support for clients throughout. We saw all sorts of unforeseen challenges crop up and our teams showed the flexibility needed to adapt quickly and do what was needed to ensure there was no interruption to our service and that we could support our clients by providing solutions to tricky contractual issues brought about by the impact of the pandemic.
A large part of this success has been down to the interaction between our teams and departments. We place great emphasis upon multidisciplinary work across teams within the firm, and can draw on the strength and depth of so many specialisms to provide bespoke teams for each project.
This is one reason why we have now achieved six years of double-digit revenue growth for the Property Department. Our Property team is now over a 100-strong having tripled in size in six years, and our Construction team is now 20-strong, making it one of the biggest regional practices outside London.
What’s been the secret to your success?
Three things: encouraging home-grown talent; making some superb lateral hires by giving opportunities to excellent lawyers in their first partner role and diversification.
We have always had a focus on project and development work, which comes from our historic base doing PFI 20 years ago. And health has always been a traditional core areas for us. But our local government sector work has gone from strength to strength and is now behind only housing as our second-biggest area within property.
In terms of housing, actually our current strength goes beyond the past year and is the result of a five-year strategy aiming to work for as many of the G15 housing associations as possible. And that has been successful; we now work for the likes of L&Q, Peabody, Sanctuary and Sovereign, on some of the biggest jobs in the registered providers market. We have seen strong growth in housing management and construction disputes this year, for example with gas safety and cladding/fire defect work.
Lastly we have invested in our corporate work, with our Leeds team in particular growing year on year. This will be a further area for growth across our other offices next year.
Which cases/projects are you most proud of and why?
Every job we work on is as important as the next – it’s essential to make every client feel that their matter is as important to us as any other. Of course it is nice to work on large exciting projects such as the new proposed Cardiff Arena, or the huge Thamesmead development in London, but there is just as much satisfaction doing some of the pro bono work we take on.
Looking ahead, what markets and themes do you see emerging sector over the next 12 months and what are you most looking forward to working on?
We are investing in our energy and higher education practices. We already have strong practices across the firm as a whole and we want to see the same growth and success in those areas as we have seen in housing and local government over the last five years.
Housing will continue to be an important market to us as long as demand outstrips supply, plus independent health and social care work is a key area with the anticipated continued growth in demand for supported and senior living and the myriad other varieties of care facilities.
We are also seeing some more innovative ways of providing housing starting to come through and are working on a number of scheme with modular based construction techniques, which bring some interesting contractual challenges.