This month Legal Life catches up with Barcan Woodward to find out what has been going on ….
Barcan Woodward is a Bristol-based, independent practice, operating from three offices in central Bristol (King Street), north Bristol (Horfield), and south Bristol (Bedminster).
They provide a range of legal services to individuals and businesses within the South West and nationwide, specialising in personal injury and clinical negligence, family law, wills and probate, residential conveyancing, and commercial services.
Formed in 1992 from its predecessor Gerald Davey & Co, Barcan Woodward has recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. This milestone provided an opportunity to reflect on how the practice has changed and grown over two decades.
Barcan Woodward’s partners are unanimous in their view that the firm is approaching 2013 and its inevitable changes from a position of strength. The long-term vision is to consolidate and build the firm’s reputation for excellence, whilst placing heavy emphasis on client care and exploring innovative ways to deliver legal services.
Their recent rebrand, including a refresh of the Barcan Woodward logo and redevelopment of the website, was a subtle but significant change from the identity previously associated with the firm. A new strapline, ‘a fresh approach to legal advice’, is indicative of their progressive approach and reflects the firm’s core values of accessibility, integrity, transparency and expertise.
Despite being a relatively small practice, Barcan Woodward has undisputed expertise in a number of specialist areas, including clinical negligence and personal injury. Traditionally very strong in the South West region, for some time the team has received recognition from further afield and are building a strong reputation nationally. They frequently represent clients based throughout the UK on complex, high value cases.
Barcan Woodward’s clinical negligence team has been identified as a leading department by Chambers UK for many years and for 2012/2013 are the only firm in Bristol to receive the highest possible band 1 ranking for their clinical negligence expertise. In their description, Chambers UK describes Barcan Woodward as a “really top-notch Bristol firm” with a trusted team whom clients “would recommend to anyone.”
This month the firm will officially open the Barcan Woodward Law Shop, taking over the Gloucester Road premises previously occupied by Peter Browne. Established on the core principle of making legal advice available to all, the Law Shop will be an accessible space where the local community can obtain free or cost-effective information and support on a range of legal matters, as well as providing access to the range of services offered by Barcan Woodward.
The opening of the Law Shop provides an opportunity for Barcan Woodward to expand the availability of its non-contentious services, particularly for residential conveyancing matters. As a result, the firm has expanded its non-con department and made several appointments during 2012 in order to increase the range of services it provides.
Particular emphasis has been placed on the private client side, and the firm now offers trusts and tax planning alongside private family law, wills and probate services in all of its offices, including its central Bristol base.
Demand for Barcan Woodward’s commercial service expertise continues to increase, particular amongst small-to-medium owner-managed and family-owned businesses who demand a high quality service at a competitive price.
The partners recognise the value and support of their highly skilled teams and actively encourage staff engagement and involvement in shaping the direction of the practice. During 2012, the firm implemented a number of changes to its organisational structure that included a number of internal promotions to managerial and associate solicitor level.
The family law team has been restructured to create two specialist departments; a private client team, specialising in complex financial matters and collaborative law, and a specialist childcare and domestic violence team, representing victims of domestic abuse and children, parents and relatives of children in childcare proceedings with the benefit of legal aid.
As a firm, Barcan Woodward is focused on ensuring that the service it delivers continues to meet the ever-changing needs and expectations of its clients, both present and future. It is also committed to serving the needs of clients, regardless of their ability to pay and will continue to offer services on legal aid for those who are eligible.
As well as taking an active role with the communities it serves, the firm has an active corporate and social responsibility policy. This year there has been enormous support for various fundraising initiatives for its charity of the year, with over £8,000 being raised for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.
Barcan Woodward is supporting the Royal Marsden through The Sam Keen Foundation, which was set up in memory of Richard Barcan’s nephew to raise awareness of malignant melanoma and funds for vital research. Activities have included dragon boat racing, book sales and baking competitions, while Richard completed the ‘Deloitte Ride Across Britain’, a charity bike ride that involved cycling almost 1,000 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats in just nine days.
Speaking to Legal Life, Richard Barcan said:
“This rather epic event I have recently finished in some ways symbolises the challenges faced by firms like Barcan Woodward.
A lot of the time it seems that you have a mountain to climb. You grit your teeth and battle on into the relentless headwind of change. The effort pays off, the road turns downhill and you can afford to coast for a while. Then up ahead you see the storm brewing and once again you are grinding up the next procedural or regulatory hill before you know it!
It takes a lot to be successful – talent, training, planning, a solid infrastructure, good equipment, stamina, self belief, a sense of humour and above all, a great team with a common goal and the commitment to make it happen.
At Barcan Woodward we think we have what it takes and are looking forward to 2013 and beyond.“
For further information about Barcan Woodward, visit www.barcanwoodward.co.uk, or follow their news via Twitter at @barcanwoodward