Shakespeare Martineau - 'State of the Nation'.
Our group turnover has grown by 16% and this is excluding our two most recent mergers, which will add more than £20 million to this financial year’s results.
As we experience the biggest interest rate rise for 27 years and with predictions of a recession on the horizon, we strongly believe our House of Brands strategy is an example of positive disruption and the modern commercial approach needed for our time. It provides resilience in a time of economic and political uncertainty and offers sustainable, long-term profitable growth opportunities.
Clients, people and culture remain top of our priority list and by doing the right thing, our commercial success follows.
Last financial year (2021/22) Ampa brands began working with more than 7,900 new clients and supported more than 190,000 new matters for businesses, professionals and their families.
To support clients across all brands we developed 10 new bespoke products and service lines across Shakespeare Martineau, CSS Assure and Corclaim.
Team Members by
Fees Grew By
We’ve been supporting the wider business community with more than 62 free online webinars and thought provoking SHMA Talks, attended by thousands of people, as well as more than 270 blogs, articles and downloadable guides and three white papers, to help businesses, professionals and their families navigate the ‘new abnormal’.
In the past year we’ve grown to a group of more than 1,200 people and our office hubs to 18.
Our empowering and positive working culture is contributing to business success and attracting top talent. At 83.6%, our retention rate in 2021 reached a five-year high.
During 2021, we hired 191 additional roles due to organic growth and increased client demand, and welcomed 17 lateral partner hires. This past year, 34 of our people have been promoted across fee earners and central teams; 68% of these promotions were women and over a fifth from ethnic groups.
As well as promotions we’ve invested in our teams including more than £1 million in salary rises, on top of a £500 blanket salary increase for those earning £30,000 or less across the business to help with the cost of living.
In the past year we’ve overhauled our careers process - focussing less on antiquated techniques, stripping out annual appraisals and probation periods that added no value to our people. Instead, we invest in our people from day one and introduced performance conversations that can be had at any time of the year and as frequently as needed. Individuals not successful in promotion are supported to get to the next step in their career without the constraints of a fixed timeline.
Our empowered working principles are supporting greater work-life balance for all teams and we empower our people to work when and where suits them, their teams and clients.
Since launching our empowered work principles average sickness absence days per month have dropped by almost 60%, and in the last year engagement with our internal surveys about staff satisfaction has increased by 19%.
This year has been hugely significant for the growth of our group.
CSS Assure supports business and consumer clients with a range of services including cyber security, data protection, financial crime resilience and background checks as well as supporting clients to optimise and commercialise their data resources, from self-service to fully managed data and cyber security provision, for both life and business.
Cyber security is a growing sector and complementary to Ampa’s existing brands’ services, with hacking, attacks and data breaches causing significant issues for businesses at every stage of their lifecycle, as well as people and their families.
Mayo Wynne Baxter, founded more than 150 years ago in Lewes, retains its highly respected local brand as it continues to deliver legal services for businesses, people and their families throughout the region. Mayo Wynne Baxter’s chief executive partner has joined the group board and since becoming part of Ampa the firm is well ahead of its growth plans.
In Autumn 2022 we will also launch our new strategic advisory consultancy Coadax, supporting businesses with professional advice and project management on mergers and acquisitions, management buyouts, finance raising, valuations, and strategic planning.
The Shakespeare Martineau brand is also expanding its geographical footprint into Bristol and the Southwest, with a soon-to-be-completed merger with law firm GL Law.
Acting for businesses, people and their families, GL Law will bolster Shakespeare Martineau’s existing expertise, but also further expand its sector specialisms in the creative industries and leisure and hospitality, as well as increase its geographical reach.
These are all examples of our ‘M without the A’ approach to growth. We believe it’s not the size that makes a merger of equals, but attitude; even when one when party is bigger, it doesn’t have to feel like it.
Whether a business joining Ampa retains its original brand or merges into an existing one is driven by the market, clients and where we will get the best opportunities for growth. Those with an equity stake in any business joining the group swap this for equity in Ampa, so no money exchanges hands or a capital gain for leaders in the joining firm. Instead, we’re all in it together and in it for the long term, with ambitions for growth and a like-minded view of sustainable business.
Our short-term aim is to attain or exceed the benchmarks within our industry. As part of our responsible business commitments, our publicly-stated goal is that by the end of 2022 we will have maintained our gender balance of 61% female - significantly higher than SRA's 49% benchmark. We have also increased racial diversity by 2% to align with SRA’s 21% benchmark.
We’ve also committed to increase the racial diversity of our membership representation by 2% to 10% and female representation by 5% to 38%, by the end of the year.
As an example of boosting representation at all levels we signed up to the 10,000 Black interns campaign and have hosted four paid summer interns via the scheme this year.
As part of our commitment to social mobility: for early ambitions talent we have developed multiple routes to legal qualification - the traditional training contract route, as well as building in the SQE graduate apprenticeship and CILEX pathways - and we removed the 2:1 degree requirement, conducting ‘blind’ recruitment practices for trainees.
Our #BeYourself initiative encourages everyone to bring their whole self to work and we have signed up to the Halo Code - an initiative to support people with Afro Caribbean hairstyles to feel comfortable wearing their hair without restriction or judgement.
For the sixth year running we have also supported the Ingenuity programme to drive purpose-led start-ups. This year our donation has contributed to 400 hours of enterprise training, support for a total of 264 changemakers, a seed funding pot of £89,000 and helped create 72 new social enterprises. And we continue to run early years work experience programmes virtually, reaching more young people.
With the environment in mind we are pledging to be carbon neutral by 2025 – to date, most of our office hubs are using renewable energy.
Our first thanks goes to our amazing clients who are our motivation for continual improvement and secondly to the new team members who have joined Ampa from mergers and through recruitment – those who share our ambition, see our potential when we work together and have backed our disruptive journey.
And finally, thanks goes to our incredible people, thank you for your loyalty, your hard work, your passion and creativity.
We are celebrating some fantastic achievements this year and look forward to future growth and expansion. With so many challenges ahead including the energy and climate crisis, a recession and growing inflation; we believe our strategy and approach to business is becoming more relevant than ever.
We’re changing business for good – and we’re so happy to have you join our journey.