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Supporting a new industrial dawn

From the creation of a green energy hub to major aviation investment and rising river-borne trade, the Tees Valley’s commercial sector has newfound momentum. And at the heart of the progress is The Endeavour Partnership. Here, Steven Hugill speaks to managing partner Lee Bramley, to learn more about the Stockton-based law firm’s support for the region’s renaissance, and why seeing the area thrive means as much personally as it does professionally.


The sun rises over Lee Bramley’s shoulder, spreading speckles of yellows and gold across the undulating waters of the River Tees.

In the foreground, the early Edwardian splendour of Middlesbrough’s Transporter Bridge stands silhouetted.

A poster project for the sweat and toil of the area’s industrial heyday, it’s a scene enough to make any proud Teessider’s heart swell.

Far from being a lament to the generations of yesteryear, however, the tableau – hung on a wall in Lee’s home office – is in fact a window into a new world.

With Redcar’s sprawling old steel site being transformed into the Teesworks green energy hub and trade burgeoning on the waterway straddled by Middlesbrough’s famous crossing, a new commercial dawn is rising.

Art has met real-life, and Lee, as managing partner at The Endeavour Partnership, is fully immersed in the glow.

He and the Stockton-based firm’s expert teams – which provide advice across areas such as commercial property, employment law and HR, and corporate and commercial matters, the latter including banking and finance support – are playing a fundamental role in the area’s reawakening, replacing the painter’s palette with brushstrokes of their own.

Operating as Tees Valley’s largest commercial law firm, the business is a crucial cog in the regeneration wheel.

Helping organisations right across the TS postcode, from family-founded transport firm AV Dawson to Wynyard Park franchise operator Racz Group, it is also supporting Tees Valley Combined Authority with economic growth and job creation as part of its elite legal panel. 

“We are a Teesside business – there are eight equity partners who own The Endeavour Partnership, and six of us are from Teesside,” says Lee, who grew up on a Middlesbrough terraced street.

He adds: “We understand the landscape, and we’re committed to making it a better place to live and do business.

“It is really important to us as individuals, and The Endeavour Partnership, to make that happen.

“Growing organisations lead to more jobs and regeneration, and more money being retained in, or moving back into, the community – and we are proud to be supporting such expansion. 

“Over the last ten years, for example, AV Dawson has evolved into a much larger organisation, doing exactly that – and we’ve been with them all that time.”

The nurturing extends further, however, with Lee – in his role as chair of trustees at The Teesside Charity – and The Endeavour Partnership both cultivating a hothouse environment wherein the next generation of seedlings begin growing into fully-rooted success stories.

Formerly known as the Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation, the charity has created a bursary scheme that funds a student’s journey across a three-year Teesside University course.

Elsewhere, The Endeavour Partnership, which employs 44 staff in offices watching out over Stockton’s rapidly-changing waterfront, offers annual training contracts and provides work experience and ‘day in the life’ insights for scores of students every year.

“Helping the area and the people where you’re from has, over time, become more important to me,” says Lee, who was previously part of the team that ran the Finlay Cooper Fund, the charity established by ex-Middlesbrough FC defender Colin Cooper and wife Julie following the death of their two-year-old son.

Lee says: “It comes back to being involved in the growth and success of Teesside. 

“As a younger person, there are three things you need to help establish your career – a work ethic, a talent or ability and then an opportunity.

“And that last point really resonates with us at The Endeavour Partnership; it’s why we work so closely with Teesside University,” says Lee, who studied at the Middlesbrough-based institution with grant support.

He adds: “We have no glass ceiling; of our eight owners, two began as trainee solicitors here.

“We’ve always grown organically, and our success has, in no small part, been down to the loyalty of our people. 

“We have very low staff turnover because there is a pathway to the top, and we are committed to helping more get onboard and have successful careers.”

Such action to augment the region’s talent stream will, of course, help deepen The Endeavour Partnership’s own skills pool, which will in turn provide fresh momentum to a firm primed for another record financial year.

Fuelled by recent tier one Legal 500 rankings – which include a citation praising The Endeavour Partnership for its ‘national firm level service’ – and rising local demand, as well as international work, means it is set to exceed the £508 million deals total it achieved in the year to July 2022.

Key to such financial success, which places The Endeavour Partnership within the higher echelons of the wider North East legal sector, are its service levels and the tremendous client longevity they foster.

Lee says: “We often get enquiries about a potential deal involving a company we’ve never worked with before, but which has come to us on recommendation.

“A German company looking at a deal on Teesside called us recently – we were endorsed by someone we’d worked with 12 years ago.

“We also have a very good track record of working for organisations being acquired by a national or international company, and then retaining that successor business into a new long-term relationship.”

And Lee says such reputation will remain a key factor as The Endeavour Partnership looks to grow through 2023 in a market affected by ongoing turbulence from the legacy of COVID-19, rising inflation and Russia’s Ukrainian invasion.

He adds: “We are cautiously optimistic; we’ve seen no reduction in work – in fact, we’ve seen quite the opposite.

“We’ve made great progress and, as we go through this year and further onwards, will continue delivering our expert services to support clients across Teesside’s changing landscape and beyond.”