Skip to main content

Who we are

Established in 1993, our very first client is still a client today.

Focused on Results

The initial focus of the firm was entirely on cost reduction and helping professional firms to improve their profits, even if fees were stagnant. In the early days, a number of projects were undertaken on a contingency fee basis and that taught us never to lose our focus on results. Even though we have moved on to more substantive projects which are not suitable for pure contingency fees, we never have lost our focus on delivering results.

Larger Projects – Smarter Solutions

In the late 1990s, we moved into more substantive and sophisticated consultancy projects, not only for professional service firms including top ten chartered surveyors and substantial law firms, but also clients in retail and financial services sectors.

Bringing Solutions from Other Sectors

In most professions and industries, largely with the exception of the law, consultants have become a common sight - often repeating old solutions from previous projects.

We not only use financial management techniques, but we also bring techniques derived from world class manufacturing and management approaches to help clients to deliver a higher quantity, better quality of service, at a much lower cost - and we can usually create a happier workplace with far less stress.

Time to specialise

In the early 2000s, we decided to specialise in the law - consultants to law firms focusing on both cash flow and costs, ensuring that not only do partners get much more income, but they also get it more quickly, and where they have been in an overdraft situation, can sleep more easily at night.

Growing the Top Line

Successful partnerships need people who are not only excellent practitioners of the law - management and bringing in business are also crucial. We often find that skills are being wasted and people are being asked to perform tasks that they are not adequately trained to carry out. As a result of many years spent grappling with these challenges, we have developed a programme that equips fee earners and partners with the business skills they require. Just as you are experts on the law, revenue, finance and management are our areas of expertise. These are the skills we address in our Profitable Partnerships Programme

A Total Service Package

So, we are now able to offer law firms a total package:

  • If you want to increase your top line, get more clients and more fees, we can help.
  • If you want to increase the bottom line (profit) even in difficult market conditions, there is no one better.
  • If you want to improve law firm cash flow, reduce your overdraft, and put money into partners’ pockets, we are the UK's leading experts.
  • And if the whole issue of law firm management in a rapidly changing world is causing you sleepless nights, we can help to reduce the stress and help to give you a much greater sense of direction.

For most things that can happen in the management of your firm, you can rest assured that we have the experience and the knowledge to provide solutions that allow you to fulfil your ambitions as a business.

If you would like a conversation about how we can help you achieve your own unique objectives, please contact us.

Barry Wilkinson

Barry’s experience includes over fifteen years consulting with professional service firms. He has saved his clients millions of pounds in all parts of their cost structures, and put even more into their bank accounts through creative cash flow programmes. He also has an unusual ability to bring partners together to move their firm in an agreed direction.

Even in the tough economic environment of the past two years, Barry has helped firms from across the UK to improve profits, boost cash flow and reduce overdrafts. He has also been instrumental in helping a number of clients to prepare for merger, and to take advantage of their position to acquire rival firms.

Barry is a Fellow and former Area President of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and, prior to founding Wilkinson Read and Partners, was Finance Director of various subsidiaries of the RTZ (now Rio Tinto) group, returning problem companies to success and profit. He also holds a Masters in Economics from the University of Sheffield.

Barry is author of Cash Management for Law Firms, the definitive sector report published in spring 2009 by the Ark Group. He regularly presents at legal industry conferences in London and around the UK.

John Humpherson

John is a senior finance professional experienced at Board level in growing businesses through his use of extensive accounting, man management and software knowledge. He is used to working in acquisition and organic growth situations and has the proven ability to deliver improvement and innovation in reporting systems, financial controls, risk management and staff development. His recent experience in the legal sector includes troubleshooting and accounting system implementation, staff training and delivery of an Excel based reporting tool to enable monthly reporting to external lenders.

John’s previous experience includes roles as both Finance Director and Managing Director at BES Consulting Ltd where he undertook a due diligence process which resulted in substantial cost savings and contributed to an increased cash flow of 300% within the first year. His core competencies include Strategic Financial Planning, Project Management, Business Revenue Improvement and Implementation of Financial Systems and Procedures. John is also an Associate Member of CIMA.

Michelle Walsh

Michelle graduated with a Bsc (Hons) in Sociology with History, University of Roehampton London and is a qualified Lexcel Consultant

Prior to joining WRP, Michelle worked in education and the manufacturing industry running busy teams efficiently and effectively, using sophisticated IT and management systems to keep costs to a minimum whilst providing a quality service to her clients.

Since joining Wilkinson Read & Partners, she has become our in-house specialist in the Lexcel quality standard for solicitors. She is experienced in producing systems and procedure manuals.

She manages our tactical cost reduction services, negotiating contracts with suppliers and supporting Practice Managers and Administrators.

Michelle enjoys spending time with her family, walks in the park and gardening as well as reading crime fiction.

Wilkinson Read & Partners are always looking for new associates and consultants that can enhance the services we provide to our clients.

Some of the great feedback and testimonials from the solicitors we have worked with

We would like to thank you for your assistance in recent years. When we first met, we were not sure how our firm, Barber Titleys, should address the changing legal market. You were able to identify our particular strengths and help us improve our collective confidence and financial performance. But we still faced issues of succession and so you helped us find a suitable merger partner in LCF. We had (with you) considered approaches, but your assessment was that the ‘fit’ with LCF and its people would serve us best – and so it has proved. We are delighted that the firm has moved rapidly forward under the LCF Barber Titleys banner. We are confident that the solution has not only been right for us, but also our loyal hardworking team. We know of partners in other small firms who have found similar challenges, so, we are particularly pleased that you have been able to ensure that we can have achieved our objectives for us, our fellow partners, our team and the enlarged LCF Barber Titleys.
LCF Law Logo
Richard Davis Commercial Property Partner - 21 Directors, Harrogate
"Applying the techniques from this programme has already enabled me to transform my practice. Six months ago we were making people redundant. Today we are managing a constant pipeline of new work – on one day this week alone we gained five new jobs. I only wish I had been taught this fifteen years ago!”
Chris Davies Commercial Property Partner - John Collins & Partners LLP, 20 Partners, Swansea
I can’t begin to express my gratitude for all your encouragement, motivation, vision and advice – never mind the external support you have provided. I have absolutely no doubt that if we continue to take the bull by the horns, we will emerge as the strongest firm in our area.
Debbie Hackney Director - Nowell Mellor Solicitors, 3 Directors, West Midlands
“From the first smaller projects over 5 years ago, through to the very sophisticated Bradford & Bingley Car Ownership Scheme more recently, we have become comfortable that our initial expectations would always be exceeded. This has at different times meant greater cost reductions, enhanced supplier relationships or when closing facilities, an earlier a disposal. You never seem to lose focus on results!!”
Sandy Duncan Director of Group Purchasing - Bradford & Bingley
"I have worked with a number of consultants in my time at John Collins & Partners, and I would like to say that you are not only the most professional that I have worked with, but that you also continue to deliver results that help to keep the firm developing and setting the standards in our area. For a non-lawyer, you have an excellent grasp of the business and partnership issues affecting our firm, and I am keen to ensure that we benefit fully from your support."
Keith Thomas Head of Clinical Negligence - John Collins & Partners LLP, Commercial Solictors, 20 Partners, Swansea
“You continue to exceed my expectations! The value that you have brought to the firm has been immeasurable in helping all partners to become more financially aware, so that we can move forward together. I have personally found your counsel, support and occasional cajoling to be a great help, especially in navigating issues where the Managing Partner can sometimes be left exposed. I would recommend you to any Managing Partner who wants to move their firm forward in an increasingly uncertain legal market.”
Jon Andrews Joint Managing Partner - Rowlands Solicitors LLP, 19 Partners - Manchester
I was sceptical at first that I could do more than I was already doing, or work in a more efficient way.  However after several meetings with Barry things started to change in my mind set which meant opportunities were identified which had previously been missed.  His understanding on my specialist area of law, how I worked best as an individual, not only made me more focused but was instrumental in assisting me to obtain the confidence to develop cold contacts into warm contacts, which produced work from clients who I previously thought were completely out of my league.
Gardner Leader logo
Judith Rountree Lawnet Young Lawyer of the Year 2013, Gardner Leader Solicitors
“A positive and inspiring speaker;  I couldn’t help but be impressed by the queue of solicitors waiting to talk to Barry after his impromptu workshop at the recent LMS annual conference. “
Jane Beacham Managing Partner
“I am extremely impressed with the work you have carried out so far. Although you came to me highly recommended by another Solicitor, I am amazed at how, in such a short space of time, you have managed to gain a clear picture of the firm and the issues facing it in the future.”
Nick Button Managing Partner - Button & Co Solicitors, 3 Partners, Coventry
“The thoroughness and transparency of your approach, even when faced with complex issues, is a great comfort to me as managing partner both in understanding your recommendations and enabling me to convince our partners of their validity .”
John Seigal Managing Partner - Clintons Solicitors, 18 Partners, Covent Garden
“Wilkinson Read & Partners and Gibbens Waterfield have helped my practice generate a saving of over £30,000”
Mike Franklin Managing Partner - Franklins Solicitors, 8 Partners, Northants
"Wilkinson Read have demonstrated a genuine and comprehensive understanding of our business development needs."
Steven Payne Managing Partner - Gepp & Sons, 7 Partners, Chelmsford
“We attended a Lawnet seminar delivered by Wilkinson Read early in 2011, and subsequently asked them to review our Financial Management. Like many firms we responded to the recession by cutting back in some departments, and having been through the pain we now want to enhance our financial performance. Barry was able to identify areas where we could improve both cash flow and profit in very practical ways far more quickly than we had hoped – and they are now paying off so that we can be far more confident than we were a year ago.”
Martin Whitworth Managing Partner - Gotelee Solicitors, 16 Partners, Ipswich
“Barry has worked with my law firm for over 5 years on a variety of financial and performance based projects and in every case he has committed himself totally and effectively into his work with us achieving commensurate results which have always benefitted us significantly. He is also a great personal mentor to have in one's armoury.”
Steve Penny Managing Partner - JCP Solicitors, 20 Partners, Swansea
“We have entered a bigger league and your analysis has clearly distinguished those issues which are important and urgent, from the trivial. Your action template will act as my checklist for a considerable time to come."
Peter Jones Managing Partner - Smith Jones Solicitors (formerly Farnworths), 5 Partners, Burnley
“Two Partners from Gardner Leader attended this seminar which Wilkinson Read delivered with Lawnet in 2011. The first part of the seminar left us in no doubt about the challenge we, and firms like us, have to face up to - the likely market developments can seem quite daunting – but as the day progressed , the actions we can take became clearer, and confirmed our belief that we can navigate our way through. It forced us to think deeply about our business and tackle some difficult practical issues locally, but without being complacent we are far more confident about our future – as individuals and as a firm. It’s hard work , but it’s also invigorating.”
Derek Rodgers Managing Partner Gardner Leader Solicitors, 12 Partners - Newbury
“I am staggered by the accuracy with which you have been able to understand what makes our firm ‘tick’ in such a short period of time. I am confident that this will help us to remain a highly profitable law firm as we continue to go from strength to strength.”
Jonathan Davies Partner - Fruhman Davies Livingstone, 5 Partners, Manchester