Leading regional law firm, Howes Percival, has announced the retirement of Senior Partner Andrew Barnes, after 28 years with the firm.
Andrew was one of the founding partners responsible for setting up the Howes Percival Norwich office in 1989, when he moved across the city from Overbury Steward & Eaton, where he started out as a trainee in 1979.
Originally heading up the firm’s hugely successful Commercial Litigation team, Andrew went on to become Managing Partner for Howes Percival in the East and has continued to his retirement as a member of the firm’s national Board.
One of the most recognisable faces on the Norfolk business scene, Andrew is also a Trustee of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, of Priscilla Bacon Norfolk Hospice Care and of Norfolk and Norwich Festival, a Governor of City College Norwich and a Director of the Thursford Collection.
During his time with Howes Percival, Andrew has been instrumental in guiding the firm’s growth from leading the team that won significant Government contracts in 1996, to helping oversee the investment and expansion programme rolled out by the firm nationally in the last three years.
Andrew has announced that he will be taking up a new role in the city as the 66th Master of the Great Hospital, in Bishopgate. Founded in 1249, the Great Hospital is a registered charity and one of the ‘Norwich 12’ - the city’s most iconic buildings. Today it provides sheltered housing and care for over 100 Norwich residents.
Andrew Barnes commented; “I am incredibly proud of my time at Howes Percival and have worked with so many amazing people over the years. The firm is in a very strong position nationally, and locally with the recent investments in Norwich and Cambridge. When the UK economy went into a sharp recession in the early 90s, just after Alan Kefford, Sandy Munro, Andrew Wood and I set up the Norwich office, we did wonder what we’d done. But we dug in and with the support of wonderful clients and staff, and fuelled by a good deal of willpower, we built a successful practice - I owe Alan, Sandy and Andrew enormous thanks, none of it would have been possible without their energy and vision, and the same to Jeremy Heal who had already been a partner of Howes Percival and joined us in Norwich not long after we started. And I’ll very much miss the team and all of the organisations, businesses and individuals we have helped and worked with over the years, it has been a very rewarding career”.
“Through the role I have had the pleasure to work with so many great Norfolk & Norwich organisations and I am keen to continue and extend those associations in my retirement. I’ve always enjoyed trying to give something back and I’m hoping that I can focus on that even more now. Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m not likely to devote myself to the golf course, especially as I am hopeless at playing the game, and my aim is to evolve in what I do and certainly not retire”.
“I feel very humble to be taking on the role of Master at the Great Hospital. It is a very fine Norfolk institution and one we are and should be extremely proud of.”
Tessa Haskey, Howes Percival’s Chairman commented; “Andrew is a one-off, and a rare mix these days; a true gentleman, highly regarded by other lawyers and hugely admired by the business community he’s served over the years. He’s always been a lawyer with a national reputation but a local heart, so it is Norfolk’s gain that he can now focus even more on local causes he is passionate about. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Andrew for close to 20 years and I know he will be very much in demand. The firm owes him a huge debt of gratitude and everyone at Howes Percival wishes him all the very best for the future.”
Howes Percival’s move from Colegate to its new £3m state-of-the-art, 15,000sq ft offices in the city’s historic Cathedral Close district in 2016 mirrored similar investments in Leicester, Northampton and Milton Keynes. Meanwhile, the firm strengthened its East Anglian base by moving into the Cambridge legal market in 2015. Howes Percival now has a team of close to 30 staff in Cambridge, following rapid growth.
As a result, the number of partners in the firm has increased from 28 to 42 in the last couple of years and Howes Percival was named as a finalist in the Regional Law Firm of the Year 2016 category in The Lawyer Awards.
In March, the firm announced that it had expanded its Government work significantly by being selected for the Crown Commercial Services General Legal Services Panel for Central Government, in a consortium with PwC and two other law firms; Holman Fenwick Willan LLP and Sharpe Pritchard LLP.