From a small team of dedicated lawyers to becoming one of the firm's largest UK offices, the Bristol office of Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) has capped 25 years of growth at the heart of the city's legal sector.

The anniversary was celebrated by more than 65 guests, partners, and employees at St. George's Concert Hall, with Partner and office head Fiona O'Kane and 7/7 survivor and Paralympian Martine Wright, MBE, delivering speeches at the event.

The Bristol office initially opened on 1 October 1998 with a small team encouraged by clients to provide expanded service to its then growing South West and national client base.

Following additional consolidation, first through the acquisition of a team from Eversheds and then a 2001 merger with Cartwrights, the office became one of Bond Pearce's largest at the time of it's 2013 merger with Dickinson Dees.

Over the last quarter century, WBD Bristol has grown to encompass more than 250 employees and a full service offering at its central Temple Quay site, becoming one of the city's largest legal employers.

Fiona said:

"Having joined very early in the life of the Bristol office, it has been incredible experiencing step-by-step the development of our profile in Bristol and the South West over the last couple of decades and become a core limb of what Womble Bond Dickinson is to many.

"I am proud to celebrate the achievements of all those who have worked so passionately over the last 25 years with our valued clients and teams. It is an honour to reflect on just how far we have come and accomplished in that period.

"However, we are not going to be resting on our laurels, and we will continue to work with the fantastic people and businesses which make the South West their home as well as continue our commitment to supporting them in achieving their aims, be it regionally or on a global scale."

WBD Bristol has developed a strong regional and national client base within the firm's key sectors over its time in the centre of the city, with members of the team have recently advised on a number of major regional projects, including MetroWest, the Smart Campus in Bridgwater, and the acquisition of Birnbeck Pier.

Recent key appointments at the site include partner Alan Bennett (restructuring and insolvency), 2020 Women in Law for Planning winner Emma Harling-Phillips (planning and infrastructure), and the promotion to partner of Ronan Lowney and Alex Fergus (both in corporate finance).

WBD Bristol has also been shortlisted for numerous awards over its lifespan, with the location most recently picking up nominations for Team of the Year (Planning & Infrastructure) and Sustainable Business of the Year at the 2023 Bristol Law Society Awards.

The firm's planning team, which is predominantly based in Bristol and is led by Partner Jon Bower, has also received recent national recognition, claiming the Planning Law Firm of the Year award at the 2023 Planning Awards.

At the core of WBD Bristol's offerings is its strong community focus, with the office's chosen charity for 2023-24 being Alive Activities, a Bristol-based organisation dedicated to improving the quality of life of older people as well as their carers.

The branch has previously supported a variety of community initiatives, including the Somerset & Avon Rape & Sexual Abuse Service, FareShare South West, Bristol East Foodbank, One25, 16-25 Independent People and St. Peter's Hospice among others, winning the Bristol Live & Bristol Post Business Award for Community in 2019.