Client Praise Reinforces ‘Regional Heavyweight’ Status

CEO Andy Steele
CEO Andy Steele

Stephens Scown’s status as a ‘regional heavyweight’ law firm in the South West has been reaffirmed today (September 10) with the publication of the annual Legal 500 guide to the legal profession.The firm, which has offices in Exeter, St Austell and Truro, wins plaudits from clients for the quality of its work across a range of areas including corporate, property, family, litigation, employment and insolvency, and has attracted more positive commentary than ever before for the quality of its services in Cornwall.

Stephens Scown chief executive Andy Steele said: “The Legal 500’s recommendations are based mainly on interviews with clients so we’re delighted so many of our lawyers and legal teams are singled out for the quality of their service.

“What really matters is the experience clients have when they deal with Stephens Scown, so having our teams described by clients as ‘first rate’ with ‘excellent legal skills’ and offering ‘outstanding service’ means the world to us.”

In the last year Stephens Scown, which employs 240 staff across its three offices, has seen turnover grow by 16% to £13.5 million and it expects to increase this to £20 million by 2011 through organic growth and acquisition.

The number of fee earners increased from 113 to 120, and in July the firm unveiled a new corporate identity aimed at better reflecting its modern and engaging culture.

This year’s Legal 500 includes a number of recommendations for the firm:

Stephens Scown’s corporate and commercial team, led by James Keliher, is praised for its ‘excellent service’ having handled 33 deals valued at more than £190 million, including several from BBC television’s Dragon’s Den series acting on behalf of Deborah Meaden and two other Dragons.

The commercial property team, headed by Mike Northcott in Devon and Keith Wright in Cornwall, is singled out for its ‘excellent legal skills’ and offering ‘sound business advice’, with a highlight being a £50 million land transaction on behalf of a group of private investors.

Liz Allen, who heads the family law team in Exeter and specialises in divorce and separation, retains her top tier ranking and is singled out for the first time as a ‘leading individual’ in her field, putting Stephens Scown on an equal footing with the best national firms. Michael Lowry, who heads the family practice in Cornwall, is also recommended and the team is singled out for its ‘considerable experience’ in child law.

The commercial litigation team is highlighted for its ‘outstanding service’, with Chris Harper in Devon and Mark Stubbs in Cornwall singled out for praise. Chris also won plaudits for his debt recovery work, including a civil recovery scheme for Trago Mills.

Guy Curry in Devon and Anthony Welford in Cornwall are both highlighted for their banking and finance work for clients including Hastoe Housing Association and Rowe Group.

The ‘first-rate’ insolvency and corporate recovery team, led by ‘one of the country’s leading insolvency specialists’ Matthew Wald in Devon and Martyn Evans in Cornwall, is also recommended. A recent highlight includes a multi-million pound cross-border administration.

The ‘renowned’ Nigel Moore is singled out for his work leading Stephens Scown’s employment practice, while Ian Lamond wins praise for this environment and planning work, especially in relation to habitats regulations.

The private client team, boosted this year with the arrival of partner Margaret Lang from the Taunton office of Ashfords, is recommended, with partner Richard Baker and his dedicated rural land team recommended for agriculture and estates work.

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