JEREMY Garside is a man with a plan.

As managing partner at law firm Chadwick Lawrence, he is responsible for charting a course for a growing company with 90 fee earners, 190 staff and offices across West Yorkshire.

And although he trained and practised as a lawyer for many years, he has found his niche in management as well as spearheading initiatives to raise the profile of a firm which is still a "comer-in" to Huddersfield.

Jeremy gained a degree at Keele University and studied at Chester Law College before undertaking two years of training at law firm Ware & Co in York.

He joined Chadwick Son & Nicholson in Dewsbury before its merger with Lawrence Son and Thorp to form Chadwick Lawrence in 1987.

"I had settled on law from a very early age," he says. "It came from watching television courtroom dramas and programmes like The Main Chance, which presented law as a very exciting career."

He recalls: "In the 1980s, almost everyone was a general practice. I would do everything – criminal law, family law, conveyancing, litigation and personal injury.

"But as practices got bigger and bigger, they needed to offer the services clients came to expect, which meant an increase in specialists."

Jeremy became a partner in the firm in 1988 and was quickly involved in the development of the practice – running the Ossett branch and opening the Halifax and Huddersfield branches.

"Managing partners were unheard of in the smaller regional practices in 1985, but I gradually took on more responsibility for the practice.

"At that point, I reined back on legal work – and stopped doing it completely about four years ago. The management side of things is better suited to my skills and mindset."

Jeremy studied economics as part of his degree, but to strengthen his management skills further is undertaking an MBA at Bradford School of Management, which he believes will hold him in good stead for the future.

He also devotes lots of time to building stronger links between Chadwick Lawrence and organisations in Huddersfield, where the firm opened its Railway Street offices in 1998.

"I remember a former partner at Chadwick Son & Nicholson saying the firm had tried to open a branch in Huddersfield in 1904 and it had never worked," he says.

"We saw that Huddersfield was a big centre – a market capable of producing work flows for us. Huddersfield has a level of independence from Leeds and Manchester which other towns and cities in West Yorkshire don’t have.

"The professional services in Huddersfield has strengthened over the past few years because it is more independent from Leeds and Manchester when compared with other similar sized towns in the region.

"Back in the late 1980s and into the 1990s there was a tendency for clients to go to Leeds because firms in the city had a level of specialist that Huddersfield lacked. Now, there’s no reason to do that because they can get that level of advice in the town."

Jeremy says: "We are established in Huddersfield now, but we are still comers-in. There are lot of long-established professional services firms and we are one of the newer entrants. We had to create a profile in the town to drive the business forward. And we have achieved significant growth."

Chadwick Lawrence has contributed to the town – working with Huddersfield University as Partners in Law, with Huddersfield Town and sponsoring the Examiner Business Awards.

Jeremy has also made a major contribution at a personal level. He joined Huddersfield Choral Society 22 years ago and has served on its committee for 15 years. A singing member and a first tenor in the choir, he was general secretary for seven years until recently standing down and has been involved in many of the society’s recent trips abroad – including ones to sing at world-famous venues in Japan, Portugal, France, Belgium and the Czech Republic as well as places like the Royal Albert Hall and the Festival Hall in London.

"I joined the society as a singer," he says. "My family are all musical and I decided I would audition. The commitment for an ordinary singer is significant. It can average two nights a week during the concert season and sometimes three nights when the concert schedule is particularly heavy.

"At Christmas, we will sing six nights in eight days with Messiah and our Christmas concert programme.

"It is a quality organisation. It is very difficult in life to say you have been part of something that is the best, so it is good to be part of something that has an international reputation."

Jeremy urges more companies to get involved in their local communities – although he recognises the difficulties.

"Society has changed and people seem less likely to be committed to organisations than they would have been 30 years ago," he says. "There are greater pressures on business and people are working harder than they were 25 years ago. There is less time to devote to community groups.

"But directing resources to community projects helps people in business become more rounded individuals and helps them in terms of their progression and development."

Jeremy also believes that better times are coming for the recession-hit companies across Huddersfield.

"It got very annoying when we were going into recession because people were constantly talking everything down," he says. "What is annoying now is that people have picked up on this ‘double-dip’ jargon and are starting to talk things down again.

"We are not out of recession yet, but there are signs that the property market is picking up and funds are being released again. But we also have to start being positive and talk things up.

"You have to have a plan and stick to it. People should be planning to move out of recession, to re-establish a platform for growth."

Chadwick Lawrence

Work: Solicitors

Employs: 190

Sites: Huddersfield, Halifax, Wakefield, Morley, Pudsey

Phone: 01484 519999