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York-based Minster Law posts first ever £100m annual turnover figure

Posted by: Laurence Simons 10/08/12

Firm attributes expansion and staff headcount as reason for volume boost.

Hey, London. Hey, London, psst. Hey London, listen up. Listen. Screw you, London. York doesn't need you. It doesn't need your Olympics or your Queen's house or your cabdrivers that say "cor, blimey" and stick their arms out widely to the side while eating pies. Don't need you, or your fancy shoes, or your Magic Circle money.

That's because York-based firm Minster Law this week posted turnover that exceeded the £100 million barrier for the first time, up 27 per cent on last year's figures. So what now, London? Huh? What now?

Minster's director of legal services Craig Underwood is pretty happy with the news, about stripping his jacket and shirt off and standing topless on Platform 1 of York Railway Station making 'come on' gestures in the direction of the capital. Almost, anyway. Instead he attributed the firm's recent restructuring for its role in "maximising the profit costs in each part of the business".

The firm specialises in personal injury claims, making a name for itself since the introduction of no-win no-fee legislation in 1998 as the UK's largest road traffic accident (RTA) firm. However, the high volume nature of the work combined with the extremely low profit margins in the sector make a £100 million turnover even more of a reach - the firm handled 60,000 claims in the last financial year, generating a net profit of £2.2 million.

And there's been a burst of legal recruitment, too. A growth in headcount - 31 qualified lawyers and 198 fee-earners were responsible for generating the income, with staff increasing from 667 heads to 732 - combined with the corporate structure of the firm was attributed as being the reason why the York offices roundly trounced London's bare bottom. The company has also reclaimed over 20,000 square foot of office space by going entirely paperless, freeing up more space for staff to sit and get injury claims done in.

Meanwhile, in London, shuddering at the progress York are making, firms in the capital are branching out: Magic Circle member Linklaters is in advanced talks with South African firm Webber Wentzel over an alliance, with the partnership hoping to fill the void of lawyer jobs recently left Dewey's Johannesburg team. Whether at home or overseas, there are clearly profits to be made for expanding firms working in the legal sector, so hooray.