Merger mania grips firms across the country

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1 October 2014

Merger partners: David Endicott, Howard Meakin (partner, Alfred Truman), John Spratt, Shamsher Pangu (partner, Alfred Truman)

Mergers have been announced across the country in recent days, with firms of all sizes and practice areas choosing to join forces.

There is usually a rush of mergers each year timed to coincide with the 30 September deadline to secure professional indemnity insurance.

The merger of Spratt Endicott and Alfred Truman creates a £6m practice in Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire, with plans to grow 15% a year. Together, they have 100 people working across 10 departments, including commercial and corporate law, dispute resolution, employment and debt recovery.

Spratt Endicott will retain its existing trading names in Banbury and Brackley, whilst the newly merged offices in Bicester and Buckingham will be known as Spratt Endicott Truman Solicitors.

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Spratt Endicott partner John Spratt said: “This merger is between two established law firms who want to work together in offering clients a broader range of expertise and improved access to that expertise. Our vision is to maintain and grow our reputation as a respected law firm delivering personalised legal services. We want to enjoy success and growth for our clients, our firm and our business partners.”

Meanwhile, national criminal law firm Tuckers has announced a merger with Sussex firm Mulrooney Craghill. The Mulrooney Craghill name will continue to exist and the practice will continue in its current form. In a statement, Tuckers said the benefits to both parties are “the ability to share resources and back office functions to lower the overall costs of practice”.

It continued: “Both parties share a vision which embraces the digitalisation of the criminal justice system – notwitstanding the significant challenges posed from declining revenues through falling volumes of work and cuts to fees, against a continuing backdrop of uncertainty with regards the government’s plans for the structure of criminal legal aid contracting.”

Adam Makepeace, Tuckers’ practice director, said: “Building on our successful partnership with Robin Murray & Co [a deal done last December], we are pleased to be able to continue to face the obvious challenges in criminal legal practice through collaborations with like-minded firms and individuals all over the country.”

Teresa Mulrooney, managing director of Mulrooney Craghill, added: “We were determined to be pro-active to seek the best structure for us to maintain and grow our practice in criminal defence work. Retaining control over what makes our firm successful was of paramount importance to us – but, at the same time, we can now draw on the additional resources of a larger organisation.

“We believe that Mulrooney Craghill will continue to flourish under this arrangement – whatever form of contracting the future may bring.”

JCP Solicitors, which says it is the largest law firm in West Wales, merges today with Carmarthen-based Pritchard Edwards, taking its headcount to 150. The two firms will remain in their existing properties in the town.

Hayley Davies, JCP Solicitors’ chief executive, said: “This is our fourth merger in West Wales and, once again, we are delighted with the continuing growth and development of our legal services in the region.

“Pritchard Edwards is a long-established firm who provide a range of legal services to a private clients and businesses in both England and Wales and we are very much looking forward to the opportunities that our unity will bring to both companies.”

In Shrewsbury, Hooper Burrowes Legal in Shrewsbury has joined forces with commercial firm Blackbourn & Bond, creating a combined legal team of 11 people under the Hooper Burrowes name, while in Coventry broad-based practice Askews Legal has merged with specialist employment firm De Marco Solicitors under the name Askews Legal incorporating De Marco Solicitors. It will have a team of around 20 based at Askews Legal’s offices.

De Marco Solicitors will retain its offices, from where it plans to launch an incubation platform for start-up and high-growth small businesses.

In Manchester, Brabners will acquire five-person private client and commercial law practice Lawson Coppock & Hart with effect from 1 November.

Mark Brandwood, managing partner at Brabners, said: “The transaction will significantly increase the size of our private client capability in Manchester, as well as adding to our commercial property offering.”

Paul Lochery of Lawson Coppock & Hart added: “Despite the difference in size between the two firms we share many common aims and values.”


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