"Were extremely proud that the firm has retained its place in this well-respected report during such turbulent times."
James Maxey, Managing Partner, Express Solicitors
Manchester-based personal injury law firm, Express Solicitors, has once again been recognised in The Lawyer’s prestigious UK 200: The Independents report covering the 2020/21 financial year. Express Solicitors has significantly exceeded the expectations of independent law firms in the personal injury sector, in what has been a challenging year for all law firms, and its ranking has remained at 106.
In the report, which saw around half of the UK’s regional and boutique firms experience a decline in their top line and only 12 independents - including Express Solicitors - out of 100 experiencing a growth in revenue in the last year, the firm was shown to have an increased turnover of 10.8% where the overall average of the 100 to 200 independents was 1.6%.
The last year has been a challenge, with the impact of Covid-19 felt by many personal injury law firms, but Express Solicitors came second in the top 10 firms by ‘lawyer growth’ at 36%. The firm has 31 partners – 55% of them female - and its average revenue per partner was up by 3.7% from £955,200 to £990,300.
Express Solicitors acquired its first law firm in 2014 and over the years it has bought five caseloads from firms wishing to exit the personal injury market, as well as both assets and cases from two law firms via pre-pack arrangements. Acquisitions will continue to play a significant role in the firm’s growth strategy.
The report concluded that ‘all growing firms interviewed for this piece say they are contacted regularly by other firms looking to open merger talks.’ In response, James Maxey, managing partner at Express Solicitors told The Lawyer that he believed acquisitions of smaller firms, or books of personal injury business from firms offloading it, are more valuable. He said: “All the acquisitions we’ve done have been better pound for pound at developing work for us than our normal marketing spend, but there isn’t an infinite number of them out there. We said no to a lot of deals that were too expensive.”
Express Solicitors has more than tripled its revenue since it became a limited company in 2013. Talking about the investments the firm has made, Maxey explained in the report: “We’ve always thought you don’t take all the profits at the end of the year, some of it is for investment, and that means over the years we’ve built a real business with a real board.”
The report comes just a few months after Express Solicitors announced its best ever financial results, with group turnover up by 14% from last year to £31.3m and caseloads growing by 36% to 19,015.
Express Solicitors started with just two members of staff in 2000 and now has 389 employees working out of its offices in Northenden, South Manchester, across departments such as medical negligence, employers’ liability, road traffic accidents, and occupiers and public liability, as well as costs and advocacy teams.
Maxey concludes: “We’re extremely proud that the firm has retained its place in this well-respected report during such turbulent times. The firm has enjoyed strong and steady growth over the last few decades, despite the many reforms in the personal injury sector and more recently, the pandemic, when claims volumes plummeted during the first lockdown.
“There will always be challenges but we have a robust growth strategy in place and a hardworking team behind us, which help us thrive throughout these periods of change and will continue to help us succeed and grow.”
The firm is continuing to recruit and has a number of vacancies open for fee earning and support staff on its careers page.
Express Solicitors has 389 employees and is ranked in The Lawyer Top 200. Its lawyers and the firm are recognised in The Legal 500 and the firm is noted in Chambers and Partners. Express Solicitors specialises in personal injury and accident claims, clinical negligence claims and serious injury cases.