Legal and professional services group breaks £80m turnover barrier

Sarah Walker-Smith

East Midlands legal and professional services group Ampa has announced 16% growth in turnover in its latest year-end results – before factoring in its two recent mergers.

In its 2021/22 financial results, the group – which includes full-service law firm for life and business Shakespeare Martineau, consumer law firm Lime Solicitors, planning consultancy Marrons Planning, uninsured loss recovery company Corclaim and cyber security consultancy CSS Assure – has, for the first time, broken the £80m turnover milestone, publishing a year-end result of £80.4m.

Ampa’s two recent mergers – which saw Sussex firm Mayo Wynne Baxter join the group in May 2022 and will see Bristol-based GL Law merge into the group’s Shakespeare Martineau brand later this year – will increase the group’s turnover to more than £105m for the next financial year; a 50% increase on last year’s result.

With the group’s growth almost entirely organic, Ampa leaders say such significant progress is down to its people and “house of brands” strategy, which hey enables the group to offer brands relevant to client needs and geography. All member equity is held at group level rather than entity level, to reflect the group’s “in it together, in it for the long-term” philosophy.

Sarah Walker-Smith, CEO of Ampa, said: “In 2020 we pressed ahead with our plans despite the uncertainty of the pandemic. Our house of brands portfolio provides resilience and sustainability in a volatile and uncertain economic and political landscape. We are looking to change business for good – benefitting our clients, communities and people with a collaborative and conscious approach to commercial strategy.”

The group’s brands currently have 18 hubs across the Midlands, South, South East, South West, South Yorkshire and Scotland.

In 2021, the group created more than 190 new roles, welcomed 17 lateral partner hires and promoted more than 30 people across legal and non-legal teams. The group says it has made no redundancies as result of any of its mergers.

Walker-Smith added: “While we are taking our time ensuring that the practicalities of our current mergers work and that our people and clients have room to grow, we are continuing conversations with interested people who are seeking to join one of our existing brands as a ‘bolt on’ or – for bigger brands with unique geographies or different services – to join as a new ‘legal regional anchor’ or ‘other professional services’ brand.

“Our overall approach is different because we don’t combine with flailing businesses, but ones that are ambitious and looking for a fast-track to fuel growth. Culture comes first and if the main objective is to make a quick gain at others’ expense, then we know we’re not a fit.

“We don’t profess to have all the answers or that we’re perfect – instead we have a growth mind-set, we learn from mistakes, and we welcome constructive feedback. We empower our people, take accountability, stay agile and embrace new ideas, which has helped us achieve 16% largely organic growth in the year just finished.”