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Cardiff, Leeds, London

Andrew Parsons, Senior Partner

Senior Partner Andrew Parsons explains how RadcliffesLeBrasseur is adapting to clients' changing needs.

What do you see as the main points that differentiate RadcliffesLeBrasseur?

At a practice area level, it is our niche specialisms, complemented by our broad service offer, which set us apart in the crowded legal market.

In regulation, we provide near un-matched levels of expertise in professional discipline and wider regulation across a number of sectors including healthcare, corporate and professional regulation.

In healthcare we provide comprehensive advice to both professionals and organisations. We have a particular niche expertise in advising on the operational legal issues that arise for many of the largest independent sector companies including their regulatory work.

In the private wealth field, we are one of only a small handful of London firms acting for Ultra High Net Worth Individuals often with international concerns.

These niche specialisms are backed up by what is largely a full service offer, meaning we can provide comprehensive advice outside of the niche area itself. We pride ourselves on the holistic advice our lawyers can provide, across the range of our clients’ issues.

Our clients benefit from high quality, personalised partner-led service. Delivered to clients across England and Wales, from our offices in the City of London, Leeds and Cardiff, our service provides excellent value compared with closely located competitors. Many people say their service is partner led - ours truly is. Responsiveness is also an important part of our culture, and we run 24-hour services in some sectors.

Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months?

In healthcare, we see an increasing number of instructions relating to regulatory matters, especially Care Quality Commission (CQC) issues and we expect that increase to continue.

Given our expertise in the regulatory field, our Health and Safety lawyers provide real value for clients. This is an area where we expect to see continued growth.

Private wealth – our offer to international private clients spans a large number of our practice areas and is an area which grows year on year. We also expect continued growth in the field of Contentious Trusts and Estates which spans our private client and litigation teams.

We also predict growth in regulatory litigation including professional regulation and white collar crime.

What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?

After taking up the role in October 2017, my time has been spent taking a fresh look at how our practice areas operate, with a keen eye on ensuring we continue delivering the highest quality legal services. We want to deliver the service in a practical way that provides real solutions for clients.

I have met with many of our clients since October to hear about their needs, aspirations and challenges for the future. Speaking with clients personally helps me to keep fully immersed in the day to day needs of our clients, and closely connected to operational challenges and solutions on both sides of the client relationship. This in turn helps me and my colleagues to keep a continual focus on our clients. I also continue my own client work which helps me in both sides of my role.

Beyond the client relationship, another key focus for me is to build on the excellent working culture at the firm. We are developing “people” programmes, ensuring that changes to working practices improve our internal culture, and in turn help to deliver the value and service that clients expect. Teams that are well looked after will perform better than those that are not.

Is technology changing the way you interact with your client, and the services you can provide them?

We appreciate the need to balance the needs of traditional clients and those looking for a more modern, innovative approach. We strive to operate in a way that clients appreciate, not in an imposed way through technology. That said, one of our most pressing concerns with technology is the concern for security. Security in itself has changed the way we interact with clients and will continue to do so.

Clients want different ways to communicate, with more flexibility, availability, speed of interaction, and having sight of things more quickly. We need to be responsive to those requirements.

We value time with our clients, but where this is not possible, technology does help hugely. It supports the international elements of our service across jurisdictions and markets.

When it comes to innovating with technology, we think that proactive evolution is the best way. Small steps to improve incrementally are often valued more readily than radical change. We only innovate in ways that benefit clients and do not implement technology simply for the sake of it.

Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?

A case led by Anil Rajani, Partner in our Commercial Litigation team highlights a number of the stand-out skills our teams can offer. Anil and his team acted for a Saudi Arabian businessman, his company and business associates. Anil and his team defended the client against proceedings brought by a US based International Corporation in the Commercial Court of the Queen’s Bench Division, of the High Court of Justice. The case centred on a state-backed tender process in respect of a $500 million infrastructure project. The dispute involved allegations of both a civil and criminal nature and ran in parallel to on-going proceedings in an overseas jurisdiction. Of particular note was the team’s successful resistance to a grant of an “anti-suit injunction”, something of a rarity in law, which essentially seeks to prevent one party from taking court proceedings in another jurisdiction. The Commercial Court agreed with our representations that the “natural forum” to decide disputes in the matter was not the High Court in England. After a successful outcome in England the team subsequently negotiated a global settlement agreement to conclude all proceedings, on terms beneficial to our client. We highlight the case in more detail in our firm’s summer newsletter for anyone interested in finding out more about this very complex, interesting and ultimately successful case for our client.

Where do you see the firm in three years’ time?

We see the offices expanding in London and Leeds as we build on our teams, increase our market penetration in our areas of acclaimed expertise and diversify our services to meet client needs.

Our eye is on growth across the firm as we capitalise on the growth practice areas above and focus on what we do best.

We are planning for the future with people-focused initiatives. Flexible working is clearly set to increase and over time this is likely to reduce the number of lawyers in the office at any one time - although equally we need to ensure that people maintain the work / life balance that is an important part of our culture.

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