PE-fuelled Knights on the acquisition trail after snapping up Chester office

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30 July 2013

Caan: legal sector is an attractive investment opportunity

Knights Solicitors – the Staffordshire law firm backed by former Dragon James Caan – has pledged to make further acquisitions after buying the Chester office of Hill Dickinson.

The full-service office – which has four partners and 20 staff – is Knights’ first acquisition since receiving private equity investment from Hamilton Bradshaw and forms part of the firm’s intention to double its turnover in the next three years.

Managing partner David Beech said the Chester office is “a natural fit for Knights as we expand our footprint throughout the UK. This investment, together with the other major successes we’ve enjoyed in the past 12 months, puts us in a very strong position to realise our ambitions”

Over the next year, Knights will be “focusing on more acquisitions and recruiting senior lawyers with client followings who have become disillusioned with the traditional partnership model”.

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As we reported last week, Mr Caan has ambitions for the alternative business structure – which has a £10m turnover – to reach the top 20 law firms, although Mr Beech is focusing on making the top 100 first.

Mr Caan said: “The legal sector is an attractive investment opportunity for Hamilton Bradshaw as it’s a people business and we have had a lot of success in investing in people businesses.

“In Knights, we found a law firm with innovative leadership and vision and with a real opportunity to expand. This presents opportunities for both the staff at Knights and the investor. It’s been a pleasure to work with David, who runs Knights like an entrepreneur, which is rare in the legal industry.”

“The first 12 months of working with Knights has exceeded my expectations and I look forward to an exciting future.”

A change in Hill Dickinson’s strategy to focus on and grow its international profile was given as its reason for the deal, although in a statement its managing partner, Peter Jackson, said the deal “underpins our commitment in this changing legal market to international and UK growth”.


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