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Bell Pottinger North - Client News
Monday, May 08, 2006

8 May 2006


As part of the firm's ongoing drive towards greater commercialisation and transparency, one of the city's longest-established legal partnerships has moved to LLP status and a brand new corporate identity.

Willey Hargrave (latterly Beachcroft Wansbroughs) has been a fixture of the Leeds legal landscape since the turn of the last century. Founded by Leeds-born solicitor Arthur Willey in the 1880s, the firm took its name from the founder and his managing clerk, John Hargrave. The firm has always had strong links with the local business community and Arthur Willey also served as Chairman of the Leeds Board of Guardians (1901-1908), member of the City Council (1903-1922) and even MP for Central Leeds (1903-1922).

John Hargrave's son, John Junior, built up a huge insurance practice during the '20s and '30s, capitalising on the introduction of the Road Traffic Act in 1934. By the 1960s, the firm boasted four partners and had developed specialisms in litigation, transport, commercial conveyancing, professional negligence and licensing (transport and liquor). A decade later, Willey Hargrave opened a London office and at the end of the '80s opened a joint venture office with Bristol firm Wansbroughs in Birmingham.

A full-blown merger followed in 1990 - creating Wansbroughs Willey Hargrave - followed by the acquisition of the Manchester commercial law firm Vaudreys in 1998 and a further merger with London-based Beachcroft Stanley less than a year later.

Today, Beachcroft LLP employs over 1400 people nationally and turns over approximately £100m, with a broad range of public and private sector clients. Six of the nineteen partners based in the Leeds office were identified as leading experts in the latest Chambers directory, highlighting particular specialisms in personal injury, real estate, professional negligence, healthcare and litigation.

In restructuring and rebranding as 'Beachcroft LLP' this month, the firm is giving another clear indication of its modern, market-driven philosophy.

Regional Senior Partner Glenn Miller sees the move as the next logical step in the firm's expansion and development: "The Leeds office has seen consistent growth over the last 5 years, more than doubling in size and increasing the scope of our commercial services on offer. Our new image is another physical demonstration of our determination to move with our markets. We have developed a broad stream of commercial service offerings and a sector-based approach which allows us to tailor our services in response to our clients' needs.

"We maintain that we deliver added value by speaking the same language as the businesses we represent - and the move to LLP status will help us to maintain that commercial perspective."


For more information, please contact:
Debbie Garritty/Emily Goehler, Bell Pottinger North
dgarritty@bellpottingernorth.co.uk / egoehler@bellpottingernorth.co.uk Tel: 01625 506444

Notes to Editors:

Beachcroft LLP (formerly Beachcroft Wansbroughs) is one of the largest national commercial law firms in the UK. With over 1,400 employees, it provides legal advice and litigation services across the the UK (with offices in Leeds, Manchester, London, Birmingham, Bristol and Winchester), as well as in Brussels. From sophisticated insurance claims management programmes to 'trusted adviser' work for major national and international organisations, the firms delivers integrated legal services to clients in four main industry groups: health and public sector; real estate and construction; financial services (including the insurance industry); and technology, media and telecommunications.

The firm converted to a Limited Liability Partnership on 1 May 2006, a move towards greater transparency and commercialisation of the firm. Chambers UK 2005 recognised 56 Beachcroft Wansbroughs partners as leading lawyers, taking the firm into the top 20 of all UK law firms; the firm received 20 new entries in Legal 500 2005, a guide to the top 500 lawyers in the UK; in Legal Week's client satisfaction survey, the firm came second amongst all law firms in the UK; and Beachcroft Wansbroughs is one of the largest law firms in the country to obtain the 'Investors in People' award across all of its offices.

For further information, please visit: www.bwlaw.co.uk


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