As we near the end of 2023, I am grateful to reflect on a year of remarkable achievements marked by strong and successful partnerships with our valued clients, colleagues and communities. It brings me great pleasure to share some of this year’s highlights. While there’s too many achievements to mention all individually, I’m proud that 2023 has seen us focus on developing and recruiting talented individuals to support the firm’s strategic growth across all four points of the compass in England and Wales and a commitment to making a positive impact across the work we do, the business we run and the culture we want.
Welcoming new faces and promoting talent
In 2023, we welcomed a record number of trainees across our Manchester, London, and Cardiff offices. We further strengthened our existing teams with the arrival of new Partners; Gemma Osgood, Steven Horsley, Rajan Shori, Penni Gibbs, Alix Langrognat, Siobhan Thomas, Victoria Cannon and Deborah Sleightholme, with David Hulse joining as Head of Financial Planning. Additionally, we made 23 promotions, a record for the firm, recognising the exceptional skills and dedication of our talented colleagues.
Expanding our reach and brand
We marked a momentous milestone in the Summer, joining forces with boutique firm Loosemore’s Solicitors in Cardiff, boosting our capabilities in the sport, media and charities sectors and expanding our client base. We unveiled the HJ brand in the North, marking one year since the acquisition of Potter Rees Dolan. These strategic moves have solidified our presence across the UK and allowed us to better serve our clients. Furthermore, we doubled our footprint in London, opening a new office in 1 King’s Arms Yard and celebrating five years of substantial growth in the City.
Positive results for our clients
We have continued to fight for justice for our clients and secured landmark judgments for business owners after COVID 19 and record settlements from the MOD for former military personnel injured at work. Our award-winning legal teams continue to help seriously injured clients, and their families, navigate complex challenges and supported hundreds recovering nursing care fees for loved ones.
Delivering for our valued business clients, our corporate commercial team has been busier than ever in 2023. Two of the highest-value deals this year include advising Victorian Sliders, the largest manufacturer of vertical sliding windows in Europe, on a £4 million follow-on investment from growth capital investor BGF and advising Waterspring Ventures, the award-winning early-stage venture capital firm, on its investment in tourhub, an experiential travel aggregation platform based in Cardiff.
Recognised for excellence
We improved our strong performance in the UK legal directories, alongside recognition in The Times list of the top 250 law firms for 2023. Our private wealth expertise was recognised in the prestigious Spears Tax and Trust Indices and with the ‘Solicitor Firm of the Year – National’ prize at the British Wills and Probate Awards. At the national Personal Injury Awards, we were nominated in seven categories with Partner Richard Edwards and Military team taking home awards for Outstanding Catastrophic Injury Lawyer of the Year and Outstanding Achievement in their field respectively.
Across our business division, the expert legal teams have won several new competitive tenders, with our firm named on the legal panels to advise the likes of 2by2, Barratt Homes, Bute Energy, Education Workforce Council, Lloyds Banking Group and Bangor University.
Committed to our people and planet
With over 700 colleagues across England and Wales, we’ve refocused our commitment to career development, wellbeing, and employee benefits. Our new HJ Potential career development initiative better equips our colleagues with the tools and resources to thrive. Additionally, we have enhanced our health, wellbeing, and family-friendly policies, including mental health support, carers wellbeing benefits, and policies supporting assisted pregnancy.
The launch of our employee-led networks groups helps us to champion and challenge our approach to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Sustainability. While the journey has just begun, we became a Carbon Neutral business in 2023 and are working to reduce emissions by 5% annually through ISO 14001 accreditation.
Making a difference in our communities
Supporting our communities is part of our DNA, and so we’ve nurtured longstanding relationships with partners such as Ty Hafan, Theodora Children’s Charity, Velindre Cancer Centre, Cardiff Rugby Foundation, and Cardiff University. We have forged new relationships including supporting Wales Netball to encourage women and girls’ participation. As headline sponsors of LCW Wales Powered by Hugh James we secured participation opportunities for our employees and supported a sporting legacy programme for children in the local area.
As always, we’ve enjoyed collaborating with partners when hosting events such as our annual Rugby Lunch, Brain Injury Conference, Military Conference, Virtual Birth Injury Conference and Gender Balance Event supported by NatWest, to name a few.
Looking ahead to 2024
2023 has been a milestone year, delivering a stronger than ever performance against our five-year “Bigger Bolder Better” business plan (2022-27). I am grateful for the shared successes and support of all our colleagues, clients and communities; in working closely together, we have achieved great things. Whatever the opportunities and challenges of 2024, I’m certain we enter the new year in great shape. I look ahead with excitement for what more we can accomplish and wish everyone a happy and prosperous new year.
Alun Jones is Managing Partner of Hugh James, taking the helm in January 2011. He is also chair of the firm’s board of management.
In his role as Managing Partner, Alun is responsible for formulating and implementing the firm’s business strategy and day-to-day operations.
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