Swinburne Staff

A buoyant year for Swinburne Maddison


Swinburne Maddison LLP has recorded a buoyant year beating its growth targets by two years, increasing our annual turnover by some 15 per cent against the previous year and by more than 40 per cent over the last five years.

Born from the merger of two Durham law firms, Swinburne Maddison has undergone significant change and growth since its launch in 1998.  Pictured, are a number of the firm's partners. 

In the past 12 months we have created 9 new positions recruiting at all levels including the admission of a partner to the firm, Simon Robinson, in August and a property litigation solicitor, Jennifer Pearson, who joined in May.

With continuing growth across a diverse range of sectors, additional growth is anticipated in the coming year as we add further strength to our commercial and intellectual property offering and make further appointments including a residential conveyancer and a commercial property lawyer.  A trainee lawyer for the dispute resolution team will also be appointed.

Swinburne Maddison is enjoying growth across all aspects of the business. Responsible for 20 percent of annual turnover, the firm’s corporate team, headed up by partner Martyn Tennant, has advised on a plethora of deals including 16 academy conversions for the Enquire Learning Trust, the sign-up of football legend, Michael Owen as Spey Whisky’s brand ambassador and the provision of ongoing legal services supporting social housing providers, such as Coast and Country Housing, on key aspects of their operations.  

Further to this Martyn and his team advised on the disposal of the social enterprise division of East Durham Partnership to Enterprise Durham Partnership, a wholly owned subsidiary of Derwentside Homes. Deals such as this were completed with the added benefit of advice from the firm’s employment law and commercial property specialists.

Speaking about the practice’s busy year, Managing Partner, John Davison said, “This has been another tremendous year for the partners and staff as we continue to see growth in all areas of the business.  When setting out our detailed five year business plan in the midst of one of the worst recessions ever, I did not expect that we would smash our growth figures in this way.

I believe this success is down to a number of factors not least our partner-led holistic approach, which clients hold in high regard.  We are regularly competing against practices much larger than ourselves, when it comes to winning new work.  This is a clear reflection of the talented team of legal professionals we have recruited and more importantly retain, as many join us as trainees.” 

On the commercial property front, Swinburne Maddison’s team, headed up by partner Victoria Walton, is fast gaining a reputation for completing complex deals.  Recent deals include advising leading ship supplier Gibbons International on its relocation from Sunderland to larger premises in Washington, also the letting of space at Esh Plaza on Newcastle’s Great Park, to growing gaming specialist Bede Gaming and a lease of new premises for The University of Law (formerly The College of Law).

Serving the housing market, the law firm’s dedicated residential property team has been prominent, advising registered social landlords as well as private house builders on site disposals and acquisitions, which will see many new homes developed across the region.

On one such deal partner, Kate Stephenson, advised John Adamson of Ramside Hall Developments on the disposal of land for new housing, the proceeds of which have gone towards funding an exciting new multi-million pound spa development at Ramside Hall Hotel, which will create some 70 new jobs when it opens in July 2015.

Other success for the practice stems from a three-year appointment by Leeds City Council to its West Yorkshire Legal Services Framework Agreement which has seen partner Jonathan Moreland and his team receiving more than 200 instructions to date. Swinburne Maddison is the only regional law firm outside of Yorkshire to be appointed to this framework agreement.

Private client and family law work have also made a considerable contribution to the firm’s success. With managing partner John Davison at the helm, they typically advise on changes to inheritance tax and matters of tax compliance. Recently, they dealt with the estate of the late Margaret Dobson, owner of Brancepeth Castle in Durham, whose life was devoted to helping others despite her own fragile health. 

Also part of John's team, Kath Hill, a committed collaborative lawyer and mediator, dealt with the highest number of new collaborative law cases within the North East Collaborative Law Group during 2014.

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