First change at the top in 14 years at Foot Anstey as new managing partner prepares to take up the role

September 28, 2021

Law firm Foot Anstey, which has a major office in Bristol, has appointed its head of real estate Martin Hirst as its next managing partner.

Martin, pictured right, will take over from long-serving managing partner John Westwell in the role at the end of the current financial year, on April 30 2022.

John, pictured below, who has been managing partner since 2008, will continue as a partner and board member for a further year, retiring from the partnership on April 30, 2023.

During his tenure Foot Anstey’s revenues have grown from £20m to £50m-plus, while it has also opened offices in Bristol and Southampton and increased staff levels to more than 600 people.

The firm, which now operates from seven bases, said the next seven months would be a period of handover to ensure a seamless transition.

John Westwell said: “As I had made the decision to retire at the end of our current strategic period in 2023, I felt it would be a smoother succession path for a new managing partner to lead on both the design and delivery of our next four-year strategic period.

“Martin receives my very full support and I will be working closely with him during this period of handover and will support him as a board member until the end of this strategic planning period.”

He said the firm’s sound strategy had guided it through the worst of the economic disruptions the pandemic has inflicted.

“Our organic growth in both revenue and profitability has continued, our focus sectors grew 15% last year, and I am confident the firm will push even further forward under Martin’s leadership,” he added.

Martin Hirst currently leads Foot Anstey’s real estate group, providing hands-on leadership to a team of more than 120 lawyers.

He is also a member of the firm’s board and was instrumental in setting up the firm’s Southampton presence in 2017.

Martin said: “I am excited for the future of Foot Anstey. It’s a great honour to be entrusted by the board with the leadership of a firm with such a unique and strong culture, exceptional people, and ambition for growth.”

Foot Anstey, whose other offices are in Exeter, London, Plymouth, Taunton and Truro, is one of the UK’s fastest-growing law firms.

It works with leading brands and individuals predominantly across six key sectors – developers, energy & infrastructure, Islamic finance, private equity, private wealth, retail & consumer.

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