Commercial law firm Taylors Solicitors has further strengthened its disputes team in response to the growing demand for its services arising from the pandemic and the fallout from Brexit.
The north west firm has seen a surge in instructions from companies involved in commercial wrangles encompassing a range of issues.
These include poor contractual performance and shareholder clashes at owner-managed and family-owned companies, many of which have come under pressure during the Covid-19 crisis.
Year-on-year fee income for Taylors’ disputes team grew more than 30 per cent in the first half of 2021.
Elaine Hurn, managing partner at Taylors, which has offices in Manchester and Blackburn, said the firm expects the trend to continue as Covid-19 restrictions ease and companies explore taking legal action as they assess the damage caused during the pandemic to supply chains, relationships and business opportunities.
Taylors, which recently recruited Stuart Farr from Knights as a commercial disputes partner, has now bolstered its team with the arrival of senior associate Alison Rowley.
Alison has nearly 15 years’ experience on a range of legal issues, including minority shareholder petitions, supply chain disagreements and commercial landlord and tenant disputes.
Elaine said: “Due to the fallout from the pandemic, we have seen a marked increase in demand from clients for support on commercial disputes of various types, and we expect this to rise further as government support schemes come to an end.
“Lockdowns, combined with Brexit, have interrupted many trading agreements, leading to fragmented supply chains and breaches of contractual obligations.
“As profits have reduced and cash has tightened, companies can no longer afford to carry underperforming family members, and acrimonious shareholder disputes have ensued.
“Some companies have delayed acting until the pandemic has passed its peak to assess the full extent of their losses.
“Many are struggling to balance the books, with full responsibility for pre-pandemic sized workforces returning from furlough, reduced revenues and the obligation to pay instalments on CBILS loans.
“Also, a large number of companies in long-term supply agreements are looking to renegotiate minimum purchase obligations or face large penalties for delays in deliveries without the benefit of force majeure clauses.”
Elaine added: “Alison’s range and depth of knowledge and expertise will further strengthen our offering to our corporate clients.
“She is a determined and pragmatic lawyer who fits our culture perfectly, with her commercial, no-nonsense approach. We’re delighted that she has chosen to progress her career with us.”
Alison said: “I was struck with how Taylors has developed strong key relationships with its clients over the years, some of whom have been with the firm since it was formed 30 years ago, and I felt that the values of the practice fitted perfectly with my own. I look forward to delivering on, and exceeding, clients’ expectations.”
Alison lives in the Ribble Valley with her husband and three teenage children. She is a governor of St Michael and St John’s RC Primary School in Clitheroe, Lancashire.