Second acquisition in a month for PE-backed law firm

Nelsons deal: Tim Hastings (l) with Mark Williams

Private equity-backed law firm Nelsons has completed its second acquisition in a month as it looks to keep on growing.

The East Midlands firm’s deal for Nottingham-based Cleggs Solicitors follows the addition of Pattersons Commercial Law in Leicester.

Cleggs has an 11-strong team offering a broad range of private client and business services; Pattersons was of a similar size.

It is in total the seventh acquisition backed by Blixt Group, which operates through its legal brand Lawfront.

Mark Williams, managing director and head of private client at Cleggs Solicitors, said: “Having become the sole equity partner at Cleggs, I wanted to maintain the growth and future of our talented team as well as continuing to offer more to our loyal client base.

“The Nelsons brand has a personable feel, and the firm believes in building long-term relationships. Our clients and team recognise the importance of this approach and so there was an immediate sharing of values.”

Tim Hastings, chairman at Nelsons, said: “Cleggs Solicitors has been a well-known and respected firm in Nottingham for decades, so this is a meeting of minds and alignment of ambitions.

“This acquisition will expand our services to clients with Mark’s team bringing substantial commercial and new-build residential property experience.”

Neil Lloyd, Lawfront CEO, said the two deals “demonstrate Lawfront’s strategy of backing the management of leading regional law firms, supporting them to achieve their own growth ambitions, both organically and by acquisition”.

Essex practice Fisher Jones Greenwood and Farleys in Lancashire were Blixt’s first acquisitions – and both announced small acquisitions after they joined Lawfront. Nelsons took the group’s revenue to £45m.

In an interview with Legal Futures earlier this year, Mr Lloyd said its strategy was to buy between five and eight “regional leaders” and then invest in their growth. This meant up to five more deals over the next two to three years.

Blixt would also provide funding for “tuck-in” acquisitions, he said, and there was “quite a pipeline” of these.

Elsewhere, leading Sussex law firm Mayo Wynne Baxter (MWB) – which is part of the multi-disciplinary Ampa group – has acquired Chichester firm Pure Employment Law, adding a first presence in the city, four team members and around £500,000 in additional turnover.

The new location will also create at least a dozen legal jobs in the area as MWB looks to build a full-service offering.

Nicola Brown, who co-founded Pure with Peter Stevens and is joining as a partner, said: “Our client base has grown massively in the past 13 years and we felt ready for the next step, so began looking for a partner that could provide us with the infrastructure to grow.”

Earlier this year, MWB took over Lawson Lewis Blakers in Eastbourne, Lewes and Peacehaven, the latter another new location for the firm.

MWB joined Ampa – which operates a ‘House of brands’ strategy – last year, becoming the “regional legal anchor brand” for the South-East.

Finally, listed consolidator law firm Knights has agreed a new extended revolving credit facility with HSBC UK, Allied Irish Bank (GB) and NatWest.

The facility provides total committed funding of £70m until November 2026, replacing the group’s existing £60m facility with HSBC UK, AIB (GB) and Lloyds Bank.

David Beech, CEO of Knights, said the facility “provides us the headroom and flexibility to continue to execute our strategy, scale our business and accelerate organic growth, complemented by selective acquisitions”.

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