Case study

UKTI support helps law firm Sherrards win international clients

Sherrards has grown its business in Russia, USA, China and Taiwan as a result of UKTI’s help.

Litigation team at Sherrards
Litigation team at Sherrards

UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) has helped Sherrards Solicitors LLP to expand its reach into international markets.

Introductions to contacts in embassies and consulates, and invitations to international events have helped Sherrards to raise its global profile and reputation. Over 20 instructions received have been worth at least £10,000 each, and some valued up to £100,000.

Alasdair McMillin, Managing Partner at Sherrards said,

There’s no doubt that UKTI’s involvement has led to us finding more clients and increasing our international exposure.

Getting invited to conferences is important because we meet lots of journalists, as well as other lawyers and firms. We have sought to become a ‘go-to’ destination for UK businesses looking for support and guidance on their international needs, as well as for international clients looking to come to the UK.

UKTI has been an important part of our progress by bringing opportunities our way and getting us the right introductions.

Developing export expertise

Sherrards is not new to exporting, having worked with clients in India for several decades, as well as following UK-based corporate clients overseas as they expanded.

However the firm saw potential for new business in Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and China, where clients were choosing to use the UK’s legal system.

Sherrards joined UKTI’s Passport to Export programme after meeting UKTI at the International Bar Association (IBA) Conference in Buenos Aires in 2008. The export guidance and support offered through this programme helped it to prepare for new overseas ventures.

Winning international business

Sherrards became the first overseas member of the British Chamber of Commerce in Taipei (BCCT) in April 2014.

The firm is now providing legal services to the Taipei Representative Office, which represents the interests of Taiwan in respect of matters relating to the UK.

In the USA, UKTI introduced Sherrards to law firms in New York, Boston and Miami, resulting in new clients.

UKTI has also helped Sherrards raise it global profile by:

  • providing grants to attend several IBA conferences
  • inviting it to Moscow Law Week in November 2013 which was hosted by UKTI at the British Embassy in Moscow
  • helping it become the face of the International Division of the Law Society (IDLS) in May 2014

Paul Marmor, Head of Litigation at Sherrards said,

Whatever the size of your company, UKTI is there for you.

You can be any size of business, from very small to very large, and if you go to UKTI you’ll have embassies on your side and a huge network of contacts at your fingertips. If you want to establish a footprint in an international market you need to develop a USP and then go to UKTI. Working with them gives you immediate gravitas.

Future business

UKTI will be closely involved with Sherrards’ aims and plans.

Looking ahead to the future, Sherrards will focus on Taiwan, strengthening its relationship with the BCCT and attending the next ministerial trade conference in Taipei.

Paul Marmor said,

The UK and London have become very attractive places for investors from overseas. We can provide the legal services they need to move into the UK.

Sherrards can also deal with cross-border probate matters or multi-jurisdictional corporate disputes. Being a mid-tier firm with this sort of expertise means we can compete with top-tier firms but still promise our clients a hands-on service from start to finish.

The firm attended the annual worldwide meeting of The Alliott Group in New York. This international network of law and accountancy firms is an important source of new contacts and business referrals for Sherrards.

As well as finding more clients for its existing areas of expertise, Sherrards plans to develop a telecoms and competition department.

About Sherrards Solicitors LLP

Sherrards started as a high street law firm in St Albans in 1880.

In the late 1990s it developed into a full-service commercial law firm, opening up its London office in 2007 and aiming at the international market. By the late 2000s this process of expansion was well under way, with the firm opening desks focusing on the USA, Russia, India and China.

It has 50 fee-earner lawyers and 30 support staff. The firm provides commercial and corporate legal services to owner-managed businesses, as well as Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and NASDAQ-listed companies. It has won several awards including ACQ’s Most Trusted Litigation Law Firm of the Year in 2014 and 2015.

Fast facts

Company Sherrards Solicitors LLP
Sector Financial, professional and business services
Target market USA, Russia, China, Taiwan
UKTI service Market Visit Support; Passport to Export
Published 21 December 2015