Norfolk Business Awards 2018

Birketts boss reaffirms company’s thirst for young talent after 8% turnover growth

An artist's impression of law firm Birketts' new head office in Prince's Street, Ipswich. Picture: C/O Birketts

An artist's impression of law firm Birketts' new head office in Prince's Street, Ipswich. Picture: C/O Birketts


Expansion is on the horizon for an East Anglian law firm which hopes to show young lawyers that the region presents a viable employment alternative to London.

Jonathan Agar, chief executive of Birketts. Picture: Birketts Jonathan Agar, chief executive of Birketts. Picture: Birketts

Birketts, which employs more than 550 people in Ipswich, Norwich, Cambridge and Chelmsford, says it plans to invest in new “entrepreneurial” talent after seeing revenue and profits rise in its recently-published accounts. Turnover rose 8% to £42.35m in the year to May 31, 2017, while profit before member remuneration was up 12% to £13.01m.

Chief executive Jonathan Agar said the business had to contend with competition from the capital, but was looking at bolstering its dedicated divisions.

“We are also trying to add specialisms. We know the world is getting more and more complex and that leads to a need for more experts,” he said.

“My number one priority is to create environments where good teams can thrive. It is about finding good people and encouraging them to join, to be entrepreneurial and take some risks in the market.

“What we really believe in is young talent. We have a big training programme for young lawyers and I think we are now beginning to show them you don’t have to go to London to get good quality work.”

A members’ report published with the accounts on Companies House said the year’s results represented “further solid growth for the firm at a time when national economic fragility has impacted the legal sector”.

Its three departments – property, corporate and private client – all enjoyed growth through the year, with the construction, commercial property and employment teams reporting “notable success”.

The company is building a new headquarters in Ipswich, with the internal fit expected to begin soon and April 2018 mooted as a likely move-in date.

Mr Agar said he maintained “confidence” in the business. “Momentum is continuing from the years before, but really it is down to the strength of the regional economy and the market because we are a reflection of that,” he said. “If those businesses prosper, the businesses supporting them will prosper. We are just one example of how the regional economy has performed very strongly. Its diversity is a strong point and our business plays into that diversity.”

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