The Head Partnership is a successful legal practice that, with the opening of a third office (and second in Henley) is steadily growing towards greater corporate status while recognising the need to enhance its Thames Valley market presence. Journalist John Burbedge met Frances Watts and Alexis Lane, lead partners of THP’s commercial team that provides legal support in property transactions, corporate structuring, employment relocation, dispute resolution, and other business services including 24/7 ‘peace of mind’ advice and support.
A big clue to THP’s success lies within its company name. ‘Partnership’ is at the heart of THP business culture and underpins the way it operates within all its professional fields of legal advice and service.
Not only does THP foster open and friendly operational partnerships among its 50-strong staff, but also solid, respected yet easy-going working partnerships with its clients – relationships aiming for business success for all parties.
“Our staff are incredibly important; they are our business heart. We work in a service industry and, whilst we have to give the best possible legal advice, the manner in which that is delivered and communicated to our clients, in a clear, knowledgeable and truly caring way, really matters,” explained Watts.
“We deliver a service that explains and interprets the formality of the law and legal process in the same way that our clients think and operate.”
Lane added: “We step in to take away any confusion, allay fears, come up with practical solutions, and enable clients to get on with running their businesses.”
Several popular aphorisms might be used about The Head Partnership – ‘one of Berkshire’s best kept secrets’; ‘punches above its weight’, ‘London service at local rates’, ‘big enough to cope, small enough to care’; ‘goes the extra mile’ – but deep down it is the professional team performance, approachable attitude, and talent of its people that have sustained this legal practice since 1991 when it launched at Lower Earley’s Chalfont Court complex in Reading, during a major UK recession.
A second office opened in Bell Street, Henley-on-Thames in 2003 and THP’s third, also in Henley at its Duke Street-Market Place corner, opens this July, alleviating growth and workspace pressures for the firm.
The high-profile town-centre location of this new Henley office is also indicative of THP’s ambition for greater knowledge of its professional offering among incoming and upcoming businesses within the vibrant and highly competitive Thames Valley.
THP has grown organically through the years, based largely on a proven reputation, recommendations and referrals from satisfied clients and other business ‘partners’.
But, as Lane remarked: “We are aware that whilst we have established wonderful relationships with our clients and many professional services colleagues, it would be nice to have our face more to the sun, with awareness of our proven work within a wider and more varied audience, particularly as the Thames Valley grows and attracts new businesses.”
Both Watts and Lane feel privileged to work within the dynamic London and Thames Valley commercial property market.
“Our team rarely seems to get a standard run-of-the-mill transaction, which makes worklife very interesting from a professional point of view,” said Lane.
“We gain a really good cross-section of different work, from M&A to re-leasing workshops or selling multi-million-pound shopping complexes. Plus, we work closely with clients owning large property portfolios, and act on major redevelopments and newbuild projects where we often follow the journey through to completion,” added Watts.
THP’s culture, creating good working partnerships with both colleagues and clients, is underpinned by the continuity of loyal staff leading by example. Watts and Lane both trained, qualified and ‘worked their way up’ at THP.
Although THP actively supports a ‘grow-your-own’ talent philosophy, Watts and Lane remarked that the firm’s growth is such that it is currently equally keen to boost resources through new hires.