I'm Simon Heald, the firm's Managing Partner. My journey with this firm started when I became a Trainee Solicitor in 1987 and I have been part of our growth and change ever since.
We are now based in four main locations and have over 400 staff and partners working on behalf of our clients across the country. I was honoured to become the firm's managing partner in 2008.
As a long established firm, we can trace our history back to the early 19th century. I'd like to think that we are well known for many things, not least our staff and clients, who are at the heart of everything we do.
For our clients, we have national recognition for our sector-focused approach, which means that we direct our skill, energy and expertise in understanding our clients in the sectors that they operate in.
As part of our commitment to staff and clients, we are proud of our 'core values'. These core values are the backbone of the firm and underpin everything we do. The values are incorporated in our business plans and communications, as well as staff appraisals.
We're often told that we are chosen by clients for our in-depth industry and sector knowledge and the inter-relationship between them. We were keen to depict this in our logo. The design started with circles each of which represented a core sector - the circles were placed to overlap one another to show the interconnection. These overlaps were then brought to life using the VWV red which has now evolved into what we call 'the spark'.
The spark gives the appearance of movement and growth which we can apply to all areas of our business.
Education and charities. We have a well-established and rapidly growing education and charities practice with more than 1,000 clients nationwide, including universities, FE colleges, independent schools, maintained schools and academies, nurseries and a broad range of charities especially in the education, arts and social care sectors.
Energy & utilities. Our national energy and utilities practice has over 30 years' experience providing a full range of legal services to the energy and utilities sector, in particular in respect of projects, pipelines, dispute resolution and debt recovery. Our team of energy lawyers understand the key issues faced by organisations involved in the energy and utilities sector, the political and regulatory background and the specialist nature of the work involved.
Family-owned businesses. We advise family business clients, such as H Weston and Sons (Westons Cider), on a broad range of corporate matters, including governance of the business, reorganisation of shares between family members and family trusts, shareholders' agreements, and disputes.
Healthcare. The strengths of our healthcare team are in acting for operators and care providers in primary care and social care. The team acts for over 400 GP practices and a number of private providers. We have acted on over 95 GP surgery development schemes and also act for care homes, social care charities, social enterprises, dentists, pharmacies and private consultants, as well as several NHS and Foundation Trusts.
Pharmaceuticals & life sciences. We are passionate about working in the pharmaceuticals and life sciences sector and delivering a first class legal service. We actively take part in thought leadership and provide a range of legal services and support to the sector, helping to bring excellence to life.
Private Wealth. We act for individuals and families with many different interests and requirements. The aim is to assist in protecting assets and to provide for the succession of family members. Our Private Wealth services and advice include property purchase, Will and trust disputes, estate planning, family-owned businesses and philanthropy.
Public Sector. Our national Public Sector practice provides a one-stop full service for central and local government on all areas, including property, planning, commercial contracts, projects and employment issues as well as specialist teams advising on EU procurement, state aid, election law, member standards and constitutional issues. The team contains experts with significant in-house experience and advise over 100 local authorities.
Recruitment. Whether you are a recruitment business looking for advice on a major recruitment process outsourcing deal or a buyer of recruitment services looking to secure a small number of contractors on a short-term basis, we can offer you support and guidance across the full range of legal issues.
Startup & early stage companies. Our startup and early stage advisory team is dedicated to providing common sense and value added legal advice and support to entrepreneurs, startups and early stage businesses. We understand the challenges of starting up and growing a new business and offer fixed fee arrangements that accommodate cash flow challenges.
Technology. Our technology lawyers understand the key issues faced by those involved in the technology sector and offer pragmatic and cost effective legal solutions.
I have mentioned our sectors which is our focus, and these are underpinned by our core legal services: real estate & commercial property, corporate, commercial (including intellectual property, data protection, employment law, immigration, licensing, dispute resolution, debt recovery, partnerships & LLPs and tax advice.