After being nominated as a finalist in The Business Magazine’s Law Firm of the Year at the Thames Valley Property Awards for the second year running, we sat down to talk to the property partners at Herrington Carmichael, one of the fastest-growing law firms in the Thames Valley.
Real estate’s Tim Hardesty, Daniel York and Maria Guida and head of the residential property, Annari Holmes discuss the firm’s property approach and its continued growth.
Q: You’ve really grown as a firm in recent years, tell us more about Herrington Carmichael
Tim Hardesty: Yes, we have a great story: over 175 year history in the area, formed in Camberley by the merger of two practices in 1935. What we offer our clients has evolved over time, we remain a full service legal provider, except our advice is given across the UK and to international businesses. Our offices are still in Camberley and Wokingham and we have recently opened a London office to further support our clients and develop new relationships both at home and abroad. We have grown from a 50-employee firm in 2012 to around 115 employees today and we are currently recruiting. So, you could say we have grown a bit. We plan to keep on growing and making sure we can provide the specialist services clients require.
Q: You have a long history in the region and a wide range of expertise. What exactly do you specialise in?
Maria Guida: We have a strong property team, supported by a strong and rapidly growing corporate and commercial team, but as a firm we have specialists across all our teams: dispute resolution, employment and immigration, family and private client – approximately 65% of our matters were commercially focused as a firm in 2017/18, that’s the area that has seen us grow recently.
Property has always been a key part of the firm at Herrington Carmichael, we split services into two teams – the real estate team has a particular specialism in acting for residential developers and landowners selling to developers and secured lending but also advise on the full range of commercial property matters from business leases, enfranchisement and lease extensions, land and property disputes and strategic land. The residential property team specialise in acting on the housebuilder panels for buyers purchasing new-build homes.
Q: You are all partners in the property team. Property must be important to the business?
Annari Holmes: Absolutely. The property team’s accounted for almost 40% of the work being generated by the firm in 2017/18. We have grown through reputation to deliver what we say we will. The majority of our growth from the residential side has come from new build. Recently the team secured new work from Barrett David Wilson, Reside developments and they secured two whole regions for CALA Homes, adding to the long established relationships with Barratt, Bovis, Lend Lease, Radian and Berkeley Homes. We work with over 45 regional and national housebuilders who have appointed us as panel solicitors to act for buyers. Particularly for me in my department, we have seen a huge increase in the rise of new build properties in recent years, so being able to demonstrate our ability to provide high-quality work on a large number of sites has been great and really contributed to the firm recently.
Daniel York: It’s hugely important from a commercial perspective too. We are also appointed to the panels of several regional and national lending institutions ranging from high street and challenger banks and to mezzanine finance providers. We pride ourselves on building strong relationships with our clients, and our continued appointment to such a diverse range of lender panels just goes to show that this continues to be valued by our large and small clients alike. It certainly had an effect in helping us be ranked in Tier 2 of The Legal 500 for Surrey, Kent and Sussex, which allows us to show our clients the high quality of the work we are able to deliver.
Q: It sounds like there’s a lot going on in relation to secured lending transactions, is this the case?
Daniel York: Yes, in recent years we have seen real growth in this area, with a broad range of new lenders entering into the market.
Q: That sounds very positive and room for further optimism?
Tim Hardesty: It is very positive. As a firm we have had an excellent year in the face of slow-moving market conditions, adding to a run of excellent years as a whole, and particularly in light of the current national mood of uncertainty. It is important to us to provide innovative and practical advice to our clients, which we believe puts us in a strong position to continue growing.
Q: So what does the future bring for Herrington Carmichael?
Tim Hardesty: Our property teams continue to go from strength to strength. We are now one of the largest and most experienced team of property solicitors in the Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire region. In addition to specialisms in relation to residential property development and site acquisitions and sales, we are also able to offer a range of complimentary services, including advising on matters ranging from construction to declarations of trust and property disputes.
The firm as a whole continues to aim high. It reached £8.8 million in turnover in 2018, up from £4.8m in 2013, and wants to keep going and build on all the recent accolades, like its recent ‘Best Medium Sized Business’ at the Surrey Heath business awards in March 2019.
If you would like to contact one of the team email: