A law firm is putting its faith in Preston and Lancashire as it targets becoming the dominant force outside Manchester and Liverpool.
Napthens employs 240 people at its six offices.
It is recognised as being in the top 200 legal firms in the country – an achievement considering it is not a “big hitter” giant based in a major city.
And its CEO, John Whittingslow, has his eye on further growth.
“We want our firm to be the best outside of Manchester and Liverpool,” says John. “Lancashire is important to us.”
Its Preston base in Winckley Square employs 43 per cent of the firm’s total staff, and John sees no reason to move out.
The area’s ongoing facelift and the arrival of new businesses gives John cause for optimism.
He said: “The area is on the up. You will see a major difference next summer when all the work is complete.
“We like it here and we have decided to stay put. We are looking to grow. We want to do well – and do well in Preston.
“We have full confidence in Preston – we are in the heart of the city and we are well placed to grow on the back of it,.”
Napthens provides legal services to businesses and individuals.
Structured into specialist departments, it has 29 Partners and operate from offices in Preston, Blackburn, Blackpool Penrith, Kendal and Southport.
The legal landscape is rapildy changing. Napthens provides services to many businesses – and sees its corporate side growing.
John said: “There is so much choice out there – you have to be able to raise your game. The opportunities, though, are fantastic. There is a lot of potential in the area that is still untapped.”
One of the main growth areas is employment law – and the implications on legislation following the UK’s decision to leave the EU are yet to sink in.
John said that was one area where Napthens could score and had an advantage over the big city firms. Its Lancashire base and its local knowledge gives it an advantage when dealing with clients.
Previously head of Napthens’ Commercial Division, John is also a highly experienced commercial lawyer with many years’ experience working with businesses at board level.
Educated at King Edward VII School, Lytham, John went on to read law at Leeds Metropolitan University before returning to the North West to complete his training in Preston.