Law firm head commended for mixing business with charity

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For the second time in his career, Peter Watson has been shortlisted for Managing Partner of the Year at the Yorkshire Lawyer Awards.

Shortlisted for the Yorkshire Lawyer Awards 2013

Since launching these regional awards, the publishers of the Leeds & Yorkshire Lawyer have provided a platform for some of the best and the biggest firms outside of London to showcase their innovation and expertise.

Over the past 12 months, Peter has overseen the opening of new offices, the expansion and launch of several practice areas and the acquisition of hundreds of files from a liquidation-threatened practice; all of which has delivered year-on-year growth in both income and profitability for the Leeds-headquartered practice.

His ability to grow the firm without losing sight of its core values speaks volumes in favour of Simpson Millar's managing partner for one of the most prestigious awards on the ticket.

"These last 12 months have been intense but we never lost sight of what makes this firm a continued success: an incredibly loyal client base and the people who work here. Regardless of how firmly cemented a firm's position seems to be, taking stock and looking for new ways to improve is an ongoing commitment,” Peter said and added: “In the current legal services landscape, innovation is inevitably necessary and Simpson Millar boasts a number of 'firsts'. But we have always chosen a path that complemented our strengths and values. It is that integrity which has stood us in good stead.”

In addition to his work on behalf of the firm, onlookers can’t have helped noticing Peter’s efforts to rally support for some of the world's poorest children.

In Peter’s mind, the role of managing partner comes with more than merely the responsibility to run and inspire growth and prosperity. His desire to give something back to people and communities in need has always featured prominently alongside his commitment to the firm. It is a philosophy that has been allowed to penetrate the ranks and which, every single year, allows two members of staff to embark on a fully paid-for aid convoy - organised by the Communications Workers Union Humanitarian Aid (CWUHA) - to help children and orphans in some of Europe’s poorest countries. In 2010, Peter flew out to join his colleagues in delivering aid to children in Moldova and Transnistria; a gesture he is planning to repeat this year when the 2013 convoy reaches Bulgaria. In 2008, Peter spent the three weeks behind the wheel himself as the convoy made its way to visit four orphanages in Bulgaria.

As a trustee for Just a Drop, Peter also throws his weight and dedication behind an organisation that seeks to reduce child mortality by delivering clean, accessible, safe water where it is needed most.

Bottom line; few managing partners have, like Peter Watson, been at the helm of the same firm for almost two decades. Under his guidance, some of this year’s most notable achievements include:
  • The acquisition of McAras – one of Yorkshire’s best known family and matrimonial law specialists
  • Acquired a portfolio of case files from Lindsay’s plus extended an invitation for three otherwise unemployed trainees to complete their training contracts under Simpson Millar’s guidance
  • Transition to ABS status as one of the very first firms in the UK
  • Appointment of three experienced advisers to form the firm’s immigration department

The winners of this year’s Yorkshire Lawyer Awards will be announced at the New Dock Hall on 2 October 2013.


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