While there are many start-ups in Cornwall, rarely is there one entering the legal profession. Business Cornwall caught up with Penny Paddle and Verona Cocks to find out why the two thought 2018 would be a good time to team-up and launch commercial law firm, Paddle & Cocks
While this is a start-up business – it seems misplaced to term it that since the managing
partners, Verona and Penny, have entered this new venture with over 44 years of high-level
experience between them. Penny started her legal career in 1992 doing a training contract
with City of London law firm, Mayer Brown, qualifying into its corporate and commercial
department in 1994. In 1997 she was seconded to GE Information Services to run its in-house legal team across Europe, Middle East and Africa and she joined GE in that capacity
in 1998. She relocated to Cornwall in 2008 where she took over as head of corporate and
commercial with a well-known local firm where she received numerous recommendations
in the Legal 500. Since 2012 she has been working as an independent consultant under a national brand with clients both in and out of county.
In the early days of her career, Verona, who qualified in 1998 and is from Cornwall and went to school in Truro, did an internship at a law firm in Virginia, USA, before practising in London and Birmingham. While in the Midlands Verona became the 100th partner of a now top 45 national firm, Weightmans LLP, where she was head of commercial disputes & insolvency, a department she developed from scratch. She was also shortlisted for Commercial Solicitor of Year at Birmingham Law Society awards two years running, (2009 & 2010), while ranking the Birmingham department in the Legal 500, which described her as “tactically astute” (2010 ed.).
She subsequently became a partner at Matthew Arnold Baldwin, a panel firm for the city of London banks where she practised banking and finance litigation. Eventually, the naturally occurring call that every Cornish person experiences, to return home, was helped by
a partnership opportunity at a large Cornwall centered firm. Among other things, a clear
hankering for greater control and influence led Verona to work as an independent consultant, similar to Penny, essentially running her own enterprise for a different national brand.
Despite working through different consultancies, Penny and Verona started working together back in 2016 and it rapidly became apparent that there would be many
benefits to starting their own firm, hence Paddle & Cocks LLP was born. Paddle & Cocks is a full-service commercial law firm, providing services across corporate, commercial, commercial property, commercial dispute resolution, banking and insolvency, employment and international law, with the focus being the businesses it works with.
The hybrid business model is a combination of a traditional law firm and a consultancy-based practice. This means that as well as growing the in-house team, based out of Charles House, Truro, lawyers from different pockets of the UK can join forces, many of whom like the founders, have direct commercial experience having set up and run businesses themselves as well as operating at high levels within the legal sector – this allows Paddle & Cocks to cover a wide geographical area (currently Truro, Birmingham and London) and facilitate fast growth.
Commenting on the motivation behind setting up Paddle & Cocks, Penny said:
“Having worked for a national consultancy I could see the value in this kind of model and saw the opportunity to create a streamlined version with a client focused service.
“The opportunity to be creative was another attractive factor.”
Verona commented about the nature of the business model and how it provides an
environment where people flourish:
“A key aspect to delivering first-rate client services is our people. We believe individuals excel in an environment in which they feel comfortable, which is supportive, flexible and adapts to their unique talents. We embrace diversity; to that end whilst building a traditional law firm we also promote a consultancy-based practice. This combination, we believe, facilitates a more client focused service.”
A wealth of commercial expertise and a streamlined business model using the advantages of modern technology to facilitate a paperless practice would certainly suggest that
Paddle & Cocks has the armoury to deliver on its promise to achieve first rate client services and help its clients reach their commercial goals.
In a short space of time this law firm has already started to entwine itself within the local business community (and beyond) and will continue prominently doing so. It has five lawyers in total including a consultant Barrister, embracing the changing legal environment.
Paddle & Cocks are always looking for motivated lawyers who want a better work/life balance and to be properly remunerated for the work they carry out.