US online legal services provider LegalZoom has made its much-anticipated move in the UK, announcing today that it is to acquire Yorkshire firm Beaumont Legal for its 2016 launch, with more deals potentially to come.
The 200-year-old Wakefield-based practice, one of the country’s biggest conveyancers, has a turnover exceeding £5m and more than 150 staff, although only four partners. It also operates in commercial law, dispute resolution, and wills and probate.
LegalZoom claims to be the best-known legal brand in America and in January became the first US business to be licensed as an alternative business structure.
LegalZoom UK chief executive, Craig Holt said: “We’re building a unique next generation law firm, from the ground up, with a singular, relentless purpose: to best meet the needs of consumers and businesses in the modern era. This requires the perfect blend of technology, lawyers, and other expertise, and Beaumont Legal are an important piece of that jigsaw.
“We’re meticulously and patiently building something the likes of which has never been seen in the legal market – and remain open to other acquisition opportunities to further that aim. Our consumer and business clients deserve only the very best and we’re going to make sure we take the time to deliver just that.”
Nick Masheder, managing partner of Beaumont Legal, said the firm would now start a “significant” recruitment drive: “This is an unparalleled opportunity to join with the most innovative, well-known legal brand in the world. We’re also looking forward to considerably adding to our existing capabilities with forward-thinking, innovative individuals who want to be part of something truly special.”
Last year we reported that Beaumont Legal had set up its own training academy.
Mr Holt told Legal Futures that he had spoken with “an extremely wide cross-section of businesses in the legal sector” before deciding to press ahead with buying Beaumont. It was, he said, “a strong fit with the LegalZoom approach to legal services: combining people and technology to provide a relentless ‘customer-first’ service”.