One of the longest-serving members of the QualitySolicitors network has quit after six years as it bids to refocus on its local market and expand the range of services it offers.
Kent-based Martin Tolhurst Solicitors – best known for its conveyancing practice – revealed plans for what it called “a major investment” in its family law, private client, litigation and commercial departments.
The firm, which joined QS six years ago, has six offices across the county, more than 140 employees and a turnover in 2015/16 of nearly £9m. It has rebranded and launched a multi-media advertising campaign.
Managing partner Richard Carter said: “Over the last six months, we have undertaken a substantial review of our business and felt that we should focus more on local and regional marketing instead of being part of a national brand.
“We are celebrating 130 years of trading in Kent over the next 12 months and we looked at our strengths – our local name and brand was a key part of our identity for our clients.
“We have decided to make significant investment in our marketing, staff and offices over the next three years. We serve the people of Kent exceptionally well for their residential conveyancing work and we are now looking to re double our efforts to increase our market share for matrimonial, private client, litigation and commercial work.
“After recently attracting a number of quality new fee-earners and an investment of nearly £500,000 in IT systems, we felt it was the right time to market ourselves more regionally. We are therefore leaving QS after six productive years.”
Martin Tolhurst is likely to be one of the unnamed firms mentioned by QS chief executive Ben Greco as set to leave when he talked to Legal Futures in November  about the future direction of the network.
Other firms have made a similar decision to leave QS and focus on their local markets in the past couple of years, although Mr Greco said other firms were joining and the plan is now to go out and double the number of offices in the network to 200 as it looks to capitalise on its national coverage.
Speaking about Martin Tolhurst’s decision, QS network director Nick Howitt said: “With a revised model bringing new benefits to our members, we now have new firms joining us and lots more interest in where the network is going.
“We continue to recognise that law firms are diverse, and our past, current and future model will not suit every business. As a valued longstanding member and supporter of QualitySolicitors, we wish Martin Tolhurst all the very best with their expansion plans and regional focus.”