Culture-focused multi-disciplinary practice absorbs Yorkshire law firm

Birtles: Exciting opportunities

An innovative multi-disciplinary practice focused on the cultural, creative and not-for-profit sectors has expanded its range of legal services by absorbing a North Yorkshire law firm.

Counterculture Partnership has merged with Hall & Birtles, which will operate as its private client practice.

Hall & Birtles’ offices in Leyburn and Hawes will be added to Counterculture’s presence in Manchester, Edinburgh and Lewes, East Sussex.

Counterculture became an alternative business structure in 2015, at which point it had 11 partners, including five accountants and the former director of a dance company. It now has 36 partners and 15 staff across a wide range of professional specialisms; its president is former Labour Party deputy leader Tom Watson.

Hall & Birtles provides advice on residential and commercial property, wills, trusts and probate, and family law.

The merger will give its clients access to other professional services, such as business advice, employment law and accountancy, while Counterculture can now supply legal services to individuals as well as organisations.

Stuart Hall and Alastair Birtles have become senior partners at Counterculture under the legal leadership of Keith Arrowsmith, who joined in 2014 having previously been a partner and head of intellectual property, entertainment and media at JMW in Manchester.

Mr Birtles said: “We have always looked for the business to grow and we feel that this merger provides for us to expand our legal expertise together with other varied and exciting opportunities.”

Counterculture senior partner and founder Tom Wilcox, a former managing director of Whitechapel Art Gallery, explained that Hall & Birtles was “a good fit”.

He said: “We have many individual clients in the creative sector, not just organisations. We are frequently asked to recommend providers of private client services, so it makes sense to bring that capacity in-house.”

He continued: “We were actively looking to widen our range of legal services, to have more of a geographical spread and to benefit from the increased scale. There are no immediate plans for similar deals like this, however we are always looking for ways offer more services that our clients need.”

Mr Watson added: “The merger with Hall & Birtles represents an exciting opportunity for Counterculture, meaning we are in a position to offer an enhanced range of services to all of our clients, both new and old.”

Next week’s Legal Futures Innovation Conference includes a session on multi-disciplinary practices, which is a major trend in the legal market at the moment. Tickets are still available here.

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