Derek Rodgers of Gardner Leader
IT is unlikely any of us will forget 2016 in a hurry.
Looking forward, the unexpected results in both the EU referendum and the US presidential election have made the business outlook for us all much more uncertain than it was this time last year.
Away from global and national issues, however, 2016 has been a very good one for Gardner Leader in which we continued to implement our strategy for growth.
At the end of the year we were proud to be named LawNet Law Firm of the Year.
We added a number of very strong recruits to our team during 2016, particularly in Maidenhead which has been the focus of much of our growth strategy since the acquisition of Heath Buckeridge in October 2014.
In particular, we were delighted to be joined by corporate partner Diane Yarrow in January and senior employment associate Michelle Morgan towards the end of the year.
In Newbury, we were joined by commercial property partner Suki Hardy last month.
In total, we now have more than 110 people, including 14 partners.
We now have professional directors for finance, IT and marketing and will be joined by an HR manager in April.
With numbers in Maidenhead having doubled, Gardner Leader also outgrew offices in Queen Street and ended the year in December with an exciting move to 7 Frascati Way.
Wanting to remain centrally located while providing clients and staff alike with modern and accessible offices, the new first-floor home offers an open-plan working environment with four spacious meeting rooms for clients – and parking.
Gardner Leader is delighted to have been able to secure this location, evidencing commitment to Maidenhead now and into the future.
The firm takes its corporate social responsibility seriously and in 2016 staff selected Newbury & District Cancer Care Trust as the nominated charity.
The previous firm charity was the Naomi House hospice, for which a total of nearly £10,000 was raised through a variety of activities, including bake-offs, a 1980s day, skydiving and lots of running.
The firm and staff also support a number of other charities on an informal basis and many are involved in the community as school governors and charity trustees.
Winning the LawNet Award for Excellence in Employee Engagement in 2015, Gardner Leader continued to improve and was delighted that its comprehensive 2016 internal annual survey showed staff engagement at 93 per cent.
Shortlisted for that excellence award again in 2016, the firm went further and was honoured instead to win the coveted award of Firm of the Year.
The LawNet Award citation reflects why Gardner Leader won: ‘Innovation and openness to change are at the heart of this firm. They embody forward thinking and have that rare skill of turning strategy into tangible results.’
Further independent validation of the firm’s successes came when it was awarded the Halsbury’s Legal Award for Business Development.
Now with more than 110 employees, including 14 solicitor partners, as a leading regional law firm Gardner Leader offers peace of mind to individuals and businesses with legal issues across Berkshire and beyond, nationally and internationally.
Clients range from first time buyers and start-up companies to venture capital funds, charities and PLCs.
Services include corporate/ commercial; commercial litigation; property litigation; contentious probate; international arbitration; commercial property; residential conveyancing; family and children; inheritance protection; trusts; employment; and crime.
If you would like to read more, the Gardner Leader Annual Report 2016 is available at http://bit.ly/2jupEet
By Derek Rodgers, managing partner at Gardner Leader solicitors in Newbury, Thatcham and Maidenhead. Follow @GardnerLeader or contact tel: (01635) 508080, www.gardner-leader.co.uk