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Award-winning legal practice targets expansion with new financial backing

11th March 2015

An acclaimed law firm with nine offices across Yorkshire is set for a period of expansion with support from Yorkshire Bank.

Switalskis Solicitors, which specialises in a wide variety of legal disciplines including; family, clinical negligence and probate as well as residential and commercial conveyancing, is eyeing growth and acquisition opportunities, including an increase in employee numbers, following the completion of a new funding arrangement with Yorkshire Bank.

The deal was completed by Pete Sumners, business development manager based at Yorkshire Bank’s Business and Private Banking Centre in Leeds.

Switalskis was founded in Wakefield in 1993 by the late Stephen Switalski, specialising in child care and criminal law. From one office the firm has grown into one of Yorkshire’s largest practices, with more than 220 staff – 120 of which are practicing and fee-earning lawyers and solicitors.

The firm now commands a £10m annual turnover and has experienced a 15-20% year-on-year income growth for the last three years.

It has been named Yorkshire Legal Firm of the Year three times and at the 2014 Personal Injury Awards was awarded the Personal Injury Team of the Year, Personal Injury Lawyer of the Year and Case of the Year honours.

Following changes to the Legal Aid system in recent years, the firm’s senior management has worked to diversify and increase the number of specialist practice areas. A series of acquisitions and senior appointments has helped to balance its Legal Aid-funded work so that it now makes up less than half of all fee income.

In April 2013 Switalskis acquired firm Burridge Bloss in York. This followed the 2012 acquisitions of Parker Bird Gardner Solicitors in Huddersfield, and Green Williamson Solicitors in Wakefield, Pontefract and Leeds.

John Durkan, managing director of Switalskis, says that recently-added practice areas such as conveyancing, clinical negligence, probate and supporting the victims of abuse are expected to grow by 30% over the next year such that they will generate a combined turnover in excess of £4.5m. This growth is being supported by reinvestment of profits in the company and by Yorkshire Bank.

John said: “In recent years we have looked to grow organically by investing in our expertise and people, but also through acquisition to complement our existing specialities. These have proved to be successful strategies for Switalskis and, with this new financial support from Yorkshire Bank, are set to continue.

“Although our roots are in Yorkshire we have a UK-wide reputation for our services and in 2015 we will be aiming to strengthen that reputation. The legal sector’s current position is such that acquisition opportunities may be forthcoming this year and our new working relationship with Yorkshire Bank will provide us with the confidence and financial flexibility to look at those opportunities.

“The team at Yorkshire Bank has worked hard to understand our business and we believe we have found a good partner who shares our growth expectations.”

David Maybury, head of Yorkshire Bank’s Business and Private Banking Centre in Leeds, said: “Switalskis’ breadth and depth of expertise has gained it an unrivalled reputation in a number of areas and we are looking forward to working with the management team to develop their services. It has moved into, and excelled, in new areas of practice, as well as hired some of the UK’s most-respected lawyers and solicitors. We fully expect that growth to continue as its expertise becomes more widely recognised.

“As economic conditions continue to improve, we are strengthening our support for growing legal firms across Yorkshire and the UK.”

Switalskis operates from nine locations across Yorkshire including; Wakefield, Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Halifax, Dewsbury, Pontefract and York.

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