Bates Wells Braithwaite is a professional services consultancy, combining a top legal practice with services in impact measurement, outcomes-based planning and strategy, and financial services regulatory compliance. The firm works with a wide range of clients, large and small, across a variety of sectors – from established businesses, charities and social enterprises to innovative start-ups and high-profile individuals.
They stand out as a law firm – combining practical, commercial legal expertise with the deep understanding of the third sector that comes from working with more charities and social enterprises than any other UK firm. They are not only recognised as the leading charity law firm in the UK; they are also ranked in the major UK legal directories for their excellence across many of their specialist practice areas. They are proud to be the first UK law firm to achieve B Corporation certification.
In 2014, BWB became an ABS (alternative business structure) – the first City-based firm to do so specifically to provide a unified service to their clients. Jim Clifford, a chartered accountant and leading force in social finance, joined BWB along with his Impact and Advisory team. This division provides two complementary service lines to BWB clients: helping to plan, measure and deliver impact, and creating and realising value through strategic projects including service development, mergers, acquisitions, fundraising, disposals and restructuring.
The firm has grown consistently over the years both organically and through lateral hires. In particular, their corporate and commercial team has expanded significantly over the last few years and they still have the largest team of charity and social enterprise lawyers.
With over 250 staff and 38 partners, they are large enough to provide a complete range of commercial legal services yet small enough to be able to provide a personal service to every client. They are rated by Chambers UK as one of the best law firms in the UK for their client service, which they take extremely seriously.
BWB was founded in 1970 by Andrew Phillips (Lord Phillips of Sudbury) and has always been based in London, with clients across the UK and internationally. They are co-founders of a well-established international network of trusted law firms - Parlex - giving their clients easy access to consistently high quality commercial legal services across Europe and further afield,
The firm was founded on a very distinct set of values - their ethos - which are as strong as ever today and make them unique. BWB is proud to have been the first UK law firm to certify as a B Corp. Certification ratifies their commitment to doing business in the best way possible for their people, their community and the environment.
BWB has a strong set of values which they refer to as their principles. These principles are the basis upon which BWB was founded and sets them apart.
The independent legal directory, Chambers UK, has recognised the way that their principles operate in practice, describing them as a "City firm with a conscience".
1. They are a commercial firm that provides astute, practical and cost-effective advice.
2. They are dedicated to their clients and to providing an excellent client service.
3. As a socially responsible business they:
• are committed to justice and the public interest
• place a high value on advising businesses that create social value as well as public interest organisations
• are committed to making a positive impact on society
• promote individual and collective engagement in civil society
• promote environmental responsibility and control their impact on the environment
• do not allow their commercial goals to compromise their principles.
4. They innovate and encourage innovation.
5. They take pride in and enjoy their work.
6. They are committed to maintaining a reasonable balance between work, home and other interests.
7. They cultivate trust and loyalty.
8. They promote diversity and advancement on the basis of merit.
9. They value openness and clear communication.