Trends & data analysis

Bates Wells Braithwaite named as UK’s leading legal adviser

29 October 2013

Charity Financials figures show firm has biggest market share of larger charities

Bates Wells Braithwaite (BWB) is by far the most popular legal firm among the UK’s largest charities, according to latest data from Charity Financials.

The figures show that BWB of London (which is independent from similarly named firms in East Anglia) is listed as an adviser in the accounts of 368 of the UK's 5,000 largest charities. That puts it well ahead of its nearest challenger Stone King Solicitors, which has 197, and Farrer & Co on 147.
The top ten is completed by Wilsons (137), Bircham Dyson Bell (125), Russell-Cooke (117), Henmans Freeth (103), Blake Lapthorn (100), Anthony Collins (93) and Withers (90).
BWB’s 368 clients equate to a 7.5% market share of the top 5,000 charities, and have a combined income of £7.6bn. This compares to Stone King’s market share of 4.0% and combined client income of £3.9bn.
BWB counts a number of high profile charities among its clients. The largest by income is Cancer Research UK (£536.6m), followed by the National Trust (£435.9m), Arts Council England (£400.0m) and Oxfam GB (£367.9m).
It has also won new business with 14 charities. The largest of these is the United Learning Trust, which has an income of £129.5m and was previously advised by Hewitsons and Lewis Silkin. It also now advises the Home Farm Trust, which has an income of £42.6m and was previously with TLT.
BWB’s London activites were created in 1970 by Andrew Phillips, now Lord Phiillips of Sudbury, although the roots of the firm go back over 100 years in Sudbury, Suffolk. Today the London office has nearly 190 staff, including 30 partners, 80 solicitors and eight trainee solicitors.

Stone King’s history stretches back to 1785, when Robert Clarke set up as an attorney at law in Bath, Somerset.

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Gareth Jones

Gareth Jones is a journalist and communications consultant specialising in charity finance. As editorial manager of Slack Communications, he co-authors Charity Financials' range of Spotlight reports and writes regularly for the Guardian Voluntary Sector Network. Previously he was editor of the Charity Finance Group's member magazine Finance Focus and senior reporter at both Charity Finance magazine and

Elsewhere he writes articles and edits special supplements for the New Statesman, advises businesses and charities on their PR, blogging and digital strategies, and holds a master's degree in Public Policy from King's College London.

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