In the run-up to the 20th Yorkshire Legal Awards on 10 October, Yorkshire Legal News is profiling a number of finalists to find out why they entered, what they’ve achieved, and what it would mean to win
The commercial property and debt recovery teams at Shulmans have been named as finalists in those two categories at the 20th Yorkshire Legal Awards. Tim Halstead, who is also up for Managing Partner of the Year, explains what these nominations mean to the firm
YLN: Why did you enter the Yorkshire Legal Awards?
Halstead: Shulmans has a commitment to quality and we value the recognition that the Yorkshire Legal Awards affords us in our continued pursuit of excellence. Naturally, awards can help us to get noticed externally. The legal market in this region is very competitive and recognition assists with attracting both clients and potential colleagues.
This year’s nominees are particularly strong and so it is positive that two of our specialist teams are finalists in their respective categories: Commercial Property and Debt Recovery. After 25 years in the role of managing partner at Shulmans, I also appreciate being nominated in the Managing Partner of the Year category.
YLN: Why do you think you and the firm were selected as a finalist in these categories?
Halstead: In my 35 years with Shulmans, the marketplace has undoubtedly changed. We have worked hard to meet clients’ changing needs and new operating practices. Creating an open and supportive workplace, and providing colleagues with the tools they need to do the best job they can, have been important facilitating factors—and rewarding at the same time.
We are continually developing a culture of excellence and as Shulmans grows, there are more minds to draw expertise from. I think that our Commercial Property Award nomination reflects the fact that our real estate team has adapted to respond to clients’ requests for depth of legal knowledge and breadth of specialist skills. Consequently, our decision to keep the full team under one roof in Leeds, in an open-plan working environment, has been key to offering clients access to this broader skills base and bigger pool of knowledge.
Our shared philosophy for continuous improvement has resulted in generating innovative working processes that have provided faster, more effective client outcomes, such as our debt recovery team’s partnership with external debt collection agencies—a collaboration that delivered a more extensive solution that meets the needs of our clients.
YLN: How good have the last 12 months been for Shulmans?
Halstead: In the last financial year, our turnover increased by 9.25% to £17.6 million. In fact, Shulmans has averaged a solid 10% in growth over each of the last nine years and seen a profit rise of over 50% since 2017. This growth has been organic, rather than a result of mergers, which means that we have had consistency and are able to focus on developing our culture.
While we increase market share, we need to remain resilient. This year we have re-invested £1.5 million in technology and infrastructure, which has helped us become more efficient in our day-to-day operations and improve our client service.
At the same time, we have witnessed particular success with our real estate team. We now have 40 specialist lawyers. Being a sizeable team, they continue to attract great clients, such as Caddick Developments, Town Centre Securities and Lidl. They are also regularly facilitating connections between major firms within the sector, including at our annual real estate networking event.
YLN: What would winning mean to you?
Halstead: We all appreciate the recognition that these prestigious awards bestow and our nominations spur us to embrace further the pursuit of excellence and wellbeing of our colleagues.
A win would highlight our teams’ hard work and dedication to the firm’s core values, which include giving clients our full attention and being totally responsive to their needs.