Law firms in Wales that are recruiting and winning new business

The vibrant legal services sector in Wales is continuing to expand and recruit.

And here are a number of firms winning new clients and expanding their legal expertise.

Capital Law

Capital Law’s commercial and property team

Capital Law, which recently celebrated its tenth birthday, is continuing to grow its team.

In the past few months some 16 new appointments have been welcomed into the firm in departments including property, banking and finance, employment, corporate and disputes.

Established in 2006 in Cardiff, and now with an office in London, Capital provides integrated legal and consultancy services to sectors including education, energy, retail, social housing and the public sector.

Managing partner of Capital Law Elin Pinnell

Managing partner, Elin Pinnell, said: “Many of our lawyers have grown up with us, while others have joined us from City firms and nationwide legal practices.

“This contributes to the culture here and I believe this is something that has afforded us not only incredible growth over the past ten years, but also a privileged position as one of Wales’ premier law firms.”

Capital’s property team has taken on six new recruits in recent months to bolster the firm’s construction, energy and public sector offering.

Principal to the newly strengthened team is Jon Ely, who joins Capital as partner from Lewis Silkin.

Further recent additions to the property team include: Rhiannon Holtham an associate recruited from from Clarkslegal, Stuart Pearson, associate, from Foot Antsey; Emma Hill, associate, from Quality Solicitors and Kirsty Ellis, associate, from Rosenblatt.

The firm commercial disputes team has also grown exponentially – swelling its ranks by 40% to take on three new solicitors and boost the number of Partners in the department from four to five.

Key to the team’s new recruits is Nick Pester, who joins the department as partner and head of Insurance.

He joins the firm from Reynolds Porter Chamberlain, to establish a new specialist Insurance practice at Capital. Also new to the team are solicitors Ian Spencer and Lucy Emmanuel, who have joined Lyons Davidson and Eversheds respectively.

Acuity Legal

Commercial law firm Acuity Legal has opened a new office in Swansea.

The firm, which also has offices in Cardiff and London, has taken a lease on part of the Exchange Building near Morgans Hotel.

Acuity Legal employs over 70 members of staff, with the opening set to create at least 10 new jobs. This number is expected to double within the year.

The Swansea office will be headed up by Hugh Hitchcock, partner and dispute resolution specialist, who recently joined Acuity Legal after 21 years at DJM Solicitors.

Legal jobs in Wales

The team will also include members of Acuity Legal’s corporate and commercial, construction and real estate teams. This will offer Swansea and west Wales based clients a full commercial legal service.

Mr Hitchcock said: “This is an important expansion for Acuity Legal that will allow us to bring sector-leading expertise to business clients in the Swansea region.

“Swansea is a great city with a fast-growing economy and huge potential, and we are excited to be a part of its future.

“With a £1.3bn City Deal in the pipeline which is expected to boost the local economy by an estimated £3.3bn, the expert services we offer are going to be in high demand.”

Here’s all the info on the Swansea Bay City deal

The expansion follows a particularly strong year for Acuity Legal with growth across all areas of expertise as its client base expands both in Wales and throughout the United Kingdom.

Recent successes have included advising on the redevelopment of Central Square in Cardiff and new investment for Bluestone. Acuity Legal is ranked as a top tier firm in the 2016 UK Legal 500 and Chambers legal guides.

Steve Berry, chairman of Acuity Legal, said: ” Hugh and his team are a perfect fit with our approach to business and we are excited by the opportunity to open an office and invest in the future of Swansea and the surrounding area.

“We are committed to our existing and growing client base, and we look forward to welcoming new clients as we continue to grow with the city.”


Gareth Thompson, Nerys Thomas and CJCH Solicitors senior partner Stephen Clarke

South Wales law firm, CJCH Solicitors, has further extended its range of services with the appointment of new heads of department in both commercial and dispute resolution, as well as opening two further offices.

Gareth Thompson joins CJCH from HCB in Solihull as head of the commercial department, while Nerys Thomas, a Cardiff litigato,r is leading the firm’s dispute resolution team. Collectively, they will steer the newly formed CJCH mediation service.

The firm’s growth also involves the opening of new offices in Bristol and London, with the Bristol office in Prince Street, and the London office in Mayfair.

Senior partner Stephen Clarke said: “Gareth and Nerys both have fantastic reputations as highly accomplished lawyers and with the team they have assembled, will really enhance the services we offer to clients

He added: “We’re excited to be opening new offices in Bristol and London, in addition to our headquarters in Cardiff and South Wales offices in Bridgend and Barry.”

CJCH, a Wales top-20 law firm with headquarters in Cardiff, has grown to more than 100 members of staff.

Watkins and Gunn

South Wales-based solicitors, Watkins and Gunn have announced a new partner on the back of continued growth.

The firm, with offices in Newport, Cardiff and Pontypool, have promoted associate, Janine Edwards, to partner

She joins fellow partners Clive Thomas, Jonathan Wellington, Sophie Hughes, Michael Imperato and Lisa Guscott.

Ms Edwards, a specialist property lawyer, joined the firm in 2014, bringing a wealth of experience to the firm.

Her role includes managing a variety of residential property transactions, as well as dealing with all aspects of commercial property such as acquisition and disposal of development land, business leases, development deals, and commercial lending.

During her first 18 months at Watkins and Gunn Solicitors, Ms Edwards has transformed the service that the property team provide to clients – resulted in a 39% increase in completions.

Mr Thomas, managing partner at Watkins and Gunn said, “We are delighted to welcome Janine into the partnership. It is richly deserved, as in a relatively short time, that she has proved herself to be an invaluable asset and shown an incredible amount of commitment both to the business and to her clients.

“Her leadership has been motivational and she sets a wonderful example to her team and the staff as a whole.”

Ms Edwards said, “I am absolutely thrilled and honoured to have been invited to become a partner at Watkins and Gunn.

“The partners at Watkins and Gunn are forward thinking and have developed the business into one of the leading modern law firms, whilst retaining its traditional values. I am looking forward to being a part of the firm’s ongoing development and success.”

Berry Smith

Berry Smith

Cardiff law firm Berry have announced a number of promotions, new qualifications and a new starter.

Gavin Hoccom, who has been promoted to associate,joined Berry Smith in 2015 having returned to Cardiff to practice commercial litigation at a local firm.

Jane Rees is now an associate and has practised law for 20 years advising commercial and individual clients on a range of issues including commercial disputes, insolvency and property law.

Jane Emery has also been promoted to associate. She joined Berry Smith in 2010 as part of the private client team as a residential property solicitor, specialising in equity release and re-mortgage transactions for a leading lender client.

Derek Holbrook has joined as finance manager.

And Catrin Mackie has qualified as a solicitor and works in the commercial property team. She has gained experience in a range of commercial property matters and regularly represents both sellers and purchasers.

Alison Hoy, chief executive at Berry Smith, said: “we are delighted with these changes as they recognise the high quality service being provided to our clients and that the strategy of continuing improving our team is progressing well.”

Darwin Gray

The Darwin Gray team marking 15 years in business

This month Cardiff law Darwin Gray celebrates its 15th birthday.

And since its launch in 2002, its turnover has grown tenfold.

Its first office was located at St Andrew’s Crescent, with two partners and two part-time secretaries. It now has a team of 30,

And Darwin Gray, based at Helmont House, boasts experience way beyond its original focus on employment and property Law.

It now has eight partners, some of whom joined from larger firms.

Partner and head of employment and HR, Fflur Jones, was the first newly qualified lawyer recruited.

She recalls: “It was obviously a much smaller enterprise back when I joined, but some things haven’t changed. We have retained a strong collegiate atmosphere while steadily growing our client base and services.

“This year is already proving a significant one for us. We recently launched the Wales HR Awards, with Acorn Recruitment & Training, through the Wales HR Network.

“It’s one of many ways we’re marking our 15th year andand looking ahead to the next 15.”

Agri Advisor

Agri Advisor, a bilingual legal firm specialising in rural matters, has expanded with a new office near Cardiff.

The firm was established in 2011 by Dr Nerys Llewelyn Jones on her home farm in Carmarthenshire.

It expanded in 2013 with an office Welshpool, to provide a local service for Agri Advisor’s mid and north Wales clients.

And its latest office at Groesfaen, near Cardiff, will service clients in south Wales and from across the border.

Agri Advisor has four partners and over 20 staff, three of which will be permanently based in the new Groesfaen office

Ms Jones, managing partner, said, “The opening of a new office just outside our capital city is an important development for Agri Advisor.

“As well as allowing us to offer the best possible service to our customers in south Wales it also means we are on the doorstep of the Assembly and are able to engage policy makers on the issues of importance to our clients, such as the future of agricultural policy, post Brexit.”

Clarke Willmott

New recruits at law firm Clarke Willmott left to right Kireene David, Bethan Evans and Laurie Jefferies

Law firm Clarke Willmot has strengthened its Cardiff office, which recently celebrated its second anniversary, with the appointment of three new lawyers.

Bethan Evans has joined Clarke Willmott as a senior associate having worked previously for a major international firm for a number of years. She has bolstered the firm’s banking and finance team, specialising in all areas of lending.

Kireene David joins from a Swansea-based firm as a solicitor in the commercial property team, while Laurie Jefferies has also joined the Commercial Property team as a Paralegal.

Vicky Kells, partner at Clarke Willmott and head of the Cardiff office, said: “We are delighted to welcome Bethan, Kireene and Laurie to the Cardiff office.

“Our appointments demonstrate Clarke Willmott’s commitment to the Cardiff office, and will bring extensive experience to the team here.”

She added: “There’s a great deal of investment and development activity happening in Cardiff, and we are committed to making a positive contribution to this success through our work in the area.

“We are extremely pleased with our progress to date. The Cardiff office is developing and with many positives on the horizon we expect another strong performance in 2017 when we will build on the progress and strong relationships we have developed in south Wales.”

Clarke Willmott also has offices in Birmingham, Bristol, London, Manchester, Southampton and Taunton.

Gordon Dadds

Gordon Dadds new recruit David Quinn ( front left) being welcomed by Robert Biles and the rest of the team

Law and professional services firm Gordon Dadds has announced the appointment of new property litigation associate David Quinn to supportits growing client demands in property disputes at its Cardiff office.

He joins Gordon Dadds from Thrings LLP’s property litigation department in Bristol.

Senior partner of Gordon Dadds Cardiff office, Nigel Morgan, said: “We are delighted to welcome David to our rapidly growing team here in Cardiff and to continue to support the growth and development of our Welsh business particularly in the property sector.

“Gordon Dadds has recently joined the UK’s ‘top 100 law firms’, and our recruitment drive in Cardiff is another step in our journey to becoming the law and professional services firm of choice for ambitious individuals and organisations.”

In addition the Cardiff office have also recently welcomed four new appointments in family law solicitor Leah Stamp, patent and trademark specialist Matthew Hiscox, employment lawyer Andrea Price and head of corporate support services Melanie Kincaid.

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