Beyond 200 years – A year of growth and giving back for Paris Smith

Beyond 200 years – A year of growth and giving back for Paris Smith

Business round up

  • Paris Smith’s bicentennial celebrations marked a commitment to give back to the Central South from 2019 onwards, a region it has worked in for over 200 years by giving expert legal advice to local businesses and individuals.
  • The firm predict a 7% revenue growth based on 11-month figures, overcoming challenging times and the uncertainty of the political and economic climate. 
  • The company has been working to continue to strengthen its presence in technology, food and drink, marine leisure, transport and infrastructure, charities and care sectors, as well as harnessing in-house campaigns for staff around mental health and well-being and promoting women in law.
  • Innovation in both internal IT and Practice Management systems, and digital marketing initiatives will see the firm look to improve experiences for clients, and communicate more effectively with the business leaders of the future, continuing to enable success for another 200 years.

2019 transaction and deals

Bargate Homes and Paris Smith employees

Lawyers across the firm have collaborated in many major projects, advising and acting in a number of the Central South’s significant corporate transactions with an aggregate value in excess of £1billion.

Traditionally the Commercial Property department has been the powerhouse for the firm in terms of growth, but 2019 saw other departments seeing substantial success. Record breaking mergers and acquisitions were achieved by the now 21 strong Corporate team. Partner Amanda Brockwell lead the legal team who facilitated the sale of Bargate Homes to VIVID, as the developer pushed forward with its ambitious house building plans to develop 17,000 more homes in the south over the next 10 years.

Partner Jonathon Roy and his team acted in the acquisition of SHB Hire by Enterprise Rent-A-Car UK, which was one of the biggest recent transactions in the region. The success of these deals, among many others, has been the product of well-equipped, expert legal teams, working closely and efficiently alongside businesses in value driven partnerships.

In the Dispute Resolution department, former Judge Peter Ralls QC joined as a Partner. Peter, previously of 29 Bedford Row, and Outer Temple Chambers, has lived in Hampshire for the last 10 years, and specialises in company and commercial law, shareholder disputes, minority shareholder actions and a wide range of business orientated litigation.

Focus on women in law and mental health

exercise class

Paris Smith recruited 40 new members of staff in 2019. Proudly within these figures, the firm gained eight female partners, bringing the female partner proportion to 33.3% which is fitting in the year the legal sector celebrates 100 years of Women in Law.

With rapid growth comes the need to continue to fully support staff. Paris Smith maintained its commitment to supporting its people throughout 2019. Not only were there practical changes by way of enhancement to policy, but various events and initiatives implemented included a number of mental health/resilience workshops with The Eleos Partnership, the appointment of mental health first aiders, and the first ever ‘Wellbeing Week’ held in September.

All of these initiatives continue to build a culture in the firm where people feel supported and can talk openly. This was officially recognised when the firm was shortlisted for the ‘Workplace Mental Health and Wellbeing’ award at the 2019 Solent Business Awards.

Pro bono work

As well as a commitment to staff wellbeing, the firm maintained its well-established reputation for committing to the region in which it works. 2019 did not see Paris Smith’s Corporate Social Responsibility activity slow down; from pro bono work to charitable endeavours, the firm once again made its efforts in the community.Pro bono work saw the Employment law team win a former hotel porter £55,000 back pay, while in Winchester, the Construction law team played a key role in the development of the Handlebar Café community project; the brainchild of a group of local teenagers who five years ago worked with Hampshire-based charity SPUD to design a bicycle café.

As well as expert legal advice, in May this year a team, including Managing Partner Peter Taylor, slept in the grounds of Winchester Cathedral, in support of Trinity Winchester’s biggest event of the year, to raise both awareness and funds for homelessness in the City. Trinity Winchester was the firm’s charity of the year, alongside Age UK Southampton.

Summary of 2019

Bringing the year of business to a close and looking to 2020, Managing Partner Peter Taylor summarises:

“The firm is wedded to its purpose of enabling both its staff and clients to succeed through a positive experience with legal excellence. We shall embrace modern technology to harness the benefits it offers for our clients, our staff and the firm. We hold dear our values of service, professionalism, integrity, respect, innovation and trust, embedded in the acronym “SPIRIT”. We shall continue to develop the talent within the firm, so that all in the firm can reach their full potential. We enjoy working with and for both businesses and people who share our values, helping them reach their goals and aspirations, recognising that they will also have challenges to be overcome. We pride ourselves for the position we have in the region in which we live and work and are honoured to be involved in so many culture and charitable initiatives. Notwithstanding the uncertainties which lie ahead for all of us nationally and regionally, our commitment to our people, our clients and our communities remains steadfast.”

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