This film aims to outline the firm’s philosophy which is to ensure that the ‘ordinary person has just as good quality legal advice as our state bodies, insurers and multi-nationals’ and how the passion of the firm’s staff has driven this philosophy.
It examines the firm’s approach, which is to remain a leading niche practice that grows organically, and how this approach has allowed the company to take calculated risks.
The case study also analyses the key strategic decisions that have enabled it to overcome the challenges it has faced and brought it success. Today, Leigh Day have received a host of accolades and awards, ranked annually in the top tiers of both Chambers and Legal 500 client guides and have seen one of its founding partners Martyn Day be selected for the Times' inaugural list of the most powerful and influential individuals in law today making it a worthy confidant for the Telegraph Business Club’s “Secrets of Success”.
The firm quickly developed a reputation for taking on many groundbreaking ‘David and Goliath’ cases representing individuals who have suffered injury against powerful commercial organisations as well as national government authorities and bodies.
Successful cases have included representing 400 British ex-servicemen against the Ministry of Defence who were used as guinea pigs in tests performed by British military at Porton Down chemical weapons research centre and acting for 7,500 South African miners in a claim against Cape plc, a UK-based company which mined asbestos in South Africa.
Leigh Day has grown to be the company it is today by concentrating on four key areas: human rights, clinical negligence, personal injury and group claims. This focused approach keeps the firm flexible and ensures it is able to meet the needs of every individual client.
These key areas form the heart of this film and stand as the company’s ‘secrets of success’: niche specialists with organic growth, a practice with passion and the ability to take calculated risks.
In regards to the first secret the company is essentially a boutique firm in a world of legal supermarkets. The firm represents both national and international clients with often complex personal injury or human rights cases. Its ethos is to be the leading niche specialist with extensive knowledge and experience. This ensures that their clients receive the best legal representation because for them the law is a means to an end rather than an end in itself.
This is why Leigh Day prescribes to an organic business growth strategy because it is essential that any expansion into new areas is a natural fit with the firm’s ethos. An example of this was the opening of the Human Rights Department following the incorporation of the Human Rights Act into English law in 1998 and the creation of an Employment Discrimination team in 2006.
Practice with Passion
As for being a practice with passion Leigh Day was founded with the aim of “providing the ordinary man and woman with legal representation to match and surpass that historically available to our public bodies, insurance companies and multi-national companies”. At the heart of the firm lies a radical collective ethos that runs through the work performed - a direct extension of the passion of the firm’s staff and co-founder, Martyn Day, and their belief in a fair society where everyone has access to justice.
The partners are given freedom to pursue difficult or unpopular cases that push the boundaries of the law and which may be of little interest to other firms and to champion the rights of the injured, marginalised and disenfranchised. This passion has been a key to the firm’s direction and success. Leigh Day’s story is the story of a firm that has achieved success by building on the ideals of its founders and staff.
Lastly, the ability to take calculated risks has enabled it to take on several high profile and challenging cases exposing the firm to substantial financial risk. But this is balanced with stable business growth in the main practice areas so that if the case is ‘lost’, the core business remains viable.
It is the combination of being leaders in their fields of law and calculated risk takers that have helped to build Leigh Day’s reputation and to make it stand out from its competitors.