DEMAND for business legal services from a leading law firm has increased by one third during the past year.
Cartmell Shepherd Solicitors has reported the year-on-year rise in new work for businesses across Cumbria and Northumberland, and throughout the UK.
Sam Lyon, Head of Corporate and Commercial for Cartmell Shepherd, said the figure reflected consistent growth across the multi-disciplined Business Services team, which includes corporate, commercial property, employment and disputes.
He said: “The rise in transactions for both new and existing clients is testament to the breadth and quality of service we offer our clients.
“Cartmell Shepherd is continually investing in its Business Services team through recruitment and training, and in its infrastructure including a new IT system, which enabled us to make a seamless transition to home working during the pandemic.
“The past 12 months has been a challenging time for many businesses, and we’re pleased we’ve been able to help clients navigate this difficult period with expert, practical legal advice.”
Sam has spent most of his legal career advising both large and small businesses, as well as holding a number of board and executive roles in business.
He said: “It’s essential to offer practical, commercial legal support for businesses. What sets us apart are the conversations we have with clients, which allow us to fully understand the issues they are experiencing so we can work with them to find the best solutions.”
Cartmell Shepherd’s Business Services team currently stands at 21 people across Commercial Property, Corporate and Commercial, Dispute Resolution, Employment and HR, and Agribusiness.
Throughout the pandemic, the Commercial Property team has remained busy, completing a large volume of deals including the £2.2 million sale of a residential development site with title issues, and the purchase of a £9.5 million commercial investment building which was concluded in three weeks.
The Corporate and Commercial team, headed up by Sam, has dealt with transactions including the sale of a manufacturing company to a national acquirer within a challenging two week timescale, and advising on the corporate vehicle for a £2 million joint venture scheme in Cumbria.
The Employment department, led by Cartmell Shepherd director Joanne Stronach, has advised a range of businesses including owner-run SMEs to UK-wide enterprises, through workforce restructures and strategic resource planning as a result of the pandemic, as well as providing support for clients accessing Government funding such as the furlough scheme.
All three teams have also worked closely together on transactions, including the sale of a hotel with more than 30 employees during lockdown.
The Dispute Resolution team adapted quickly to an increase in remote court hearings, allowing them to more easily represent clients around the country. They have dealt with cases in the High Court and assisted both landlords and tenants of commercial properties with difficulties in rental payments, including a case with arrears of more than £200,000.
Cartmell Shepherd plans to further grow and strengthen its Business Services team by recruiting additional commercial property and employment lawyers in order to meet the increasing demand for its services.
Sam said: “The strength and depth of the team means we can offer a full range of legal services to businesses, whatever size or sector.
“We get excellent feedback from the clients we work with across all the departments, which is very important to us. It’s essential that clients know we are working to get the very best results for them, and we understand their business needs.”
Cartmell Shepherd Solicitors has six offices across Cumbria and Northumberland including Brampton, Penrith, Cockermouth, Haltwhistle, and two in Carlisle.
It is the only legal firm in Cumbria to be a member of the innovative UK200Group, and offers specialist expertise to individuals and businesses across a wide range of sectors.
The law firm has remained open for business throughout the pandemic, with its people working from home wherever possible and client meetings by appointment.