Muckle LLP sees record Q1 turnover

Jason Wainwright and Hugh Welch with Rob Williamson
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Leading commercial law firm, Muckle LLP, has achieved an impressive 25 per cent increase in turnover for April to June, the first quarter of its financial year, compared to the same period last year.

The strong results have been generated through a strategy of focusing on Muckle’s core heartland across the North East business community. Muckle remains one of the most active legal advisers in the North East.

Muckle has completed 36 corporate deals with a total value of £347m since the beginning of the year. The transactions have been spread across a range of market sectors, including manufacturing, technology, energy and pharmaceuticals.

The firm has bucked the trend over recent years, averaging 5% year on year increases in turnover over the last five years. During this time the firm has diversified and has won work across all sectors and legal areas, no longer relying on a few large teams in the firm. This strategy has led to Muckle more than doubling the size of its banking team and increasing commercial work by 67%, whilst still growing corporate transaction related turnover by 17% and real estate development work by 38% over those five years.

Muckle’s new managing partner, Jason Wainwright, said: “Our first quarter results reflect the firm’s clear focus on and commitment to be the number one law firm in the North East for business, our approach to client service and value-for-money legal services, our growing client base of local PLCs, owner-managed and family businesses, and our ongoing drive to attract and retain the best talent in the market. Over the next five years, our vision is to be the number one law firm in the North East for business. The market opportunities for a firm like ours and our growing reputation mean that we are already well placed to achieve this.”

Fee income and profitability for the year-ended 31 March 2015 dropped slightly as a result of a number of corporate deals that were progressing towards the end of the year rolling over into the firm’s new financial year and as a result of a complex and high value piece of litigation undertaken on a conditional fee basis. This dispute was finally won for Muckle’s client in July this year.  In addition, new HMRC rules created a fundamental change in the computation of profitability with payments to fixed shared partners now deducted before the profit figure is calculated.

Muckle LLP’s senior partner, Hugh Welch, said: “Substantial investment in the firm continued during last year with a major financial software package and, particularly, with the appointment of four new partners to improve competitiveness by strengthening existing areas and expanding further into the registered provider market.”

The partner appointments included specialist registered provider partner, Russell Hall; intellectual property litigator, George Festing; construction and engineering specialist, Keith Bishop; and Kevin Maloney who was promoted internally in the banking and restructuring team.

Muckle has begun the new financial year continuing to invest with the appointment of two additional partners, with Anthony Evans joining the corporate team and Charlotte McMurchie leading the real estate litigation team.

Hugh Welch said: “We remain focussed on delivering the highest levels of client service and commercial legal advice. Our strong reputation across the North East is a testament to this.

“We continue to invest not just in our business, but in the North East community where we all live and work. Since its inception in 2000, Muckle has given over £500,000 to support local communities through our charitable funds, managed by The Community Foundation. We are delighted to hand over another valuable contribution to Rob Williamson at the Foundation of over £15,000. This will be used during the year ahead to support local charities and projects for which our people have genuine affections.”

Rob Williamson, Chief Executive at the Community Foundation said: “Through its funds at the Community Foundation, Muckle has awarded grants of nearly £400,000 to support the work of local communities in our region and built up a significant endowment fund. Muckle established its funds with a corporate philanthropy model to donate 1% of their pre-tax profits, their support has made a fantastic contribution to the voluntary sector over the past 15 years and we’re delighted to continue working with Muckle to support more causes in our community in the future.”