NottinghamLIFE: Spotlight on local Notts law firm Richard Nelson LLP


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What is the name of your company and what do you do?

We’re Richard Nelson LLP, a national law firm of solicitors with expertise in a wide range of legal matters.

Our solicitors are all very successful in their chosen areas, and this allows us to provide a high level of service regardless of why people are coming to us. Our founder, Richard Nelson, is himself a highly regarded fraud and regulatory lawyer, specialising in defending other solicitors facing SRA Investigations. He has brought in lawyers who can expand the firm’s legal services and expertise even further.

For example, the firm’s Managing Partner, Marie Dancer, specialises in defending healthcare professionals such as doctors, nurses and dentists in fitness to practise cases. Mark Wilson, another Partner at the firm, is also a well regarded lawyer, known for his success in financial crime cases and tax investigations.

We’re passionate about helping the people of Nottingham, the city that our head office remains based in today. We have also grown to a size where we can be effective on a national level, and have seven offices around the UK to give people everywhere access to our services.

Tell us about your company’s history

Richard Nelson, our founder, has been a practising solicitor since 1975, becoming a partner in a law firm for the first time in 1980. He founded another firm, Nelsons, in 1983, but left in 2003 after two decades, to form Richard Nelson LLP.

Richard has spent the majority of his legal career in and around Nottingham, and over time has become a respected member of the legal community, even taking the role of president of the Nottinghamshire Law Society for a time. In order to grow the firm over the last 13 years, he has looked for only the best lawyers around to join the team and, in some cases, become Partners.

Marie Dancer, now a Managing Partner alongside Richard, joined the firm in its founding year, 2003, becoming a Partner in 2009 and a Managing Partner in 2015. Business crime specialist Jonathan Wright joined Richard Nelson in 2006, becoming a Partner in 2009. The growing team was soon joined by Steve Roberts in 2008, who became a partner in 2014. Mark Wilson has been the latest addition to Richard Nelson LLP’s list of Partners, joining in late 2015.

Alongside the partners, Richard Nelson LLP employs several other advocates, consultant solicitors, and assistants; a fantastic group of lawyers who have enabled us to extend our services around the country.

Who are your typical customers and why do they choose you?

It’s hard to put a label on our typical clients. We help a wide variety of professionals, individuals and businesses with all sorts of legal advice. This includes, but certainly not limited to, medical professionals, drivers caught in transport investigations, and even other solicitors in SRA investigations and SDT Proceedings. The majority of our work is concerned with professional disciplinary and regulatory investigations, including tax investigations, commercial cases, criminal defence, and private client issues such as probate and family law matters.

Our clients choose us because of our reputation and our commitment to building a team of the best legal professionals in the country. Over the last 13 years, we have hired only the top legal talent, bringing in the most gifted newly qualified solicitors as well as experienced professionals with years of success and acclaim.

In our dealings with clients we are always friendly, honest and approachable, and this emphasis on building strong relationships with our clients gives them peace of mind in what is otherwise a very distressing time.

Our reputation precedes us, both in terms of our track record as a firm, and the success of our individual partners and employees. Over a decade after Richard Nelson founded the firm, we are just as committed to providing the same top quality level of service that we have always provided, and letting our results speak for themselves in the eyes of clients past, present and future.

How competitive is your marketplace today?

The legal sector is results-driven and trust-based. If your firm can’t win cases then potential clients are going to go to a competitor with a better track record, and if clients feel that they can’t trust your employees and partners, then the same is true. Because of this, the market is always going to be competitive and cutthroat. You can’t rest on your laurels; you have to keep performing.

That said, the sector has been up and down since the financial crisis of 2008. One of the trends that emerged in recent years was a long run of mergers, with 74 happening between 2011 and 2014. Mergers in law happen for a number of reasons, but many of the more recent ones appear to have been between a financially stable firm and a firm still struggling in the aftermath of ‘08.

The number of mergers have a couple of important practical implications. On the one hand, each merger means that there is at least one less independent firm around, which would, in theory, make the marketplace less crowded. On the other hand, each merger also means that two or more firms consolidate into one larger, more powerful firm that will normally have a wider reach than any of the individual firms that formed it.

The bottom line is that there are still a lot of very good firms in the UK today. In the last year, new research has emerged that shows that the growing legal sector is a significant contributor to the economy, with £1.39 generated in the economy for every £1 generated by the legal sector. The continued health of our marketplace means that there is still a lot to be gained for a proactive firm that is dedicated to quality.

What made you choose Nottingham as the base for your business?

Richard has lived and worked in Nottingham for decades, so the area is his home and somewhere that he is passionate about making a positive difference in.

Our reasons for being based here are not just sentimental, however. Nottingham is a thriving city in the heart of the country, and is experiencing an exciting period in its history, with new and innovative companies choosing to set up here. More and more, Nottingham is getting the recognition that it deserves as a fantastic place to live and work.

With easy access to cities all around the country, including Birmingham, London and Manchester, Nottingham is also a great place to build a national business. Although we have now expanded to include several offices around the country, we were able to get around the UK fairly easily even when we were only in Nottingham.

Now that we do have multiple offices, the transport links that Nottingham offers mean that our lawyers can travel between offices easily, and get to where their clients need them to be.

What would be your advice for businesses starting up in Nottingham?

Look to local talent. With two large universities in the city, both of which run well regarded law courses, there is no shortage of talent in the city for the legal sector. In terms of business more generally, if you engage with the universities you will have access to large bodies of untapped talent that could add immeasurably to your business.

Aside from the universities, Nottingham and the Midlands are home to swathes of brilliant professionals, and they keep coming. As London’s soaring house prices put people off the capital, more and more people are coming to cities like Nottingham to find a better standard of living. Embrace the city and the opportunities that it offers, embrace the people that are here already, and you’ll do well here.
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