Spin-out firms merge to create largest debt recovery practice

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By Legal Futures

17 February 2012


Holden: merger in every sense of the word

Debt recovery law firms Drydens Lawyers and Fairfax Solicitors, both created by spin outs from national firms, are to merge creating the UK’s largest debt recovery and debt litigation legal practice.

With a combined workforce of around 300 and turnover of approximately £15m, the firm will trade under the brand of drydensfairfax solicitors. It acts for some of the country’s largest financial institutions as well as government departments.

Drydens, which has 170 staff, was part of Hammonds before demerging to become a stand-alone firm in 2003; Fairfax, with 130 staff, was created by management buy-out from Eversheds in 2009.

Former DLA Piper insolvency partner Philip Holden bought Drydens in 2009 from the remaining Hammonds partners who still held shares and took on the role of executive chairman.

In a statement, the fi

rm said the merger “creates a step change in scale and puts the new firm in a prime position to grow a much larger debt recovery business”.

Mr Holden will lead the new entity as CEO, with Peter Wordsworth, current CEO at Fairfax, becoming director of client management and business development.

Mr Holden said: “This really is a merger in every sense of the word; Drydens is particularly strong on secured recoveries and Fairfax is focused on unsecured and government work. The new operation combines an excellent debt collection business with an exceptional debt litigation practice.”

Mr Wordsworth said: “The most important thing to me is how positive and supportive the clients have been about the news of the merger. It is clear that at a time when several of them are looking to integrate their secured and unsecured recoveries operations and all of them are looking for scalable and highly compliant service providers, the merger makes perfect sense.”

It is expected the merger will formally complete on 2 April 2012. Initially the firm will operate from its existing two sites in Leeds and Bradford with plans to re-locate everyone to Drydens’ offices in Bradford later in the year.

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