Fast-growing consumer law firm Taylor Rose MW is eyeing up further acquisitions and office openings over the coming year after receiving investment totalling nearly £5m.
The money is coming from John McMillan, one of the founders of McMillan Williams (MW) – which Taylor Rose bought out of administration for £1.4m last May – and former MW chief executive Colum Smith.
The pair made an initial investment to support the acquisition and have now taken up an option in the agreement to increase that to nearly £5m.
Taylor Rose has grown rapidly since opening in Peterborough in 2009 – springing out of what was originally a law costs business set up in 1998 – and all of its growth until now has been funded out of retained profits.
But chief executive Adrian Jaggard said the initial investment removed the uncertainly at the time caused by lockdown.
The new funds were aimed at taking the firm to the next level and he said that, although not looking for deals quite of the scale of MW – which doubled the size of Taylor Rose – growth by acquisition remained a key part of the business plan.
He said he was currently talking to four prospects: “The credibility, buying power and efficiency we have make us a very attractive proposition.”
The recently rebranded Taylor Rose MW is now a £60m business with 900 people working out of 32 offices around the country, although the integration process led to 50 redundancies across both firms.
Around half of the combined practice is dedicated to property work, with the rest a wide range of consumer law matters, while Taylor Rose MW is also looking to expand its offering to SMEs.
Some 350 lawyers and support staff operate through the firm’s consultancy proposition, who both source their own work but also receive referrals from Taylor Rose MW and “play a significant role in helping the firm flex the resourcing it needs for different projects”, said Mr Jaggard.
The firm targets up to 50% of its revenue to be supplied by self-employed consultants, although the size of the MW acquisition meant it was currently weighted more on the employed side.
The consultancy arm is on track to turn over around £20m this year and Mr Jaggard said it was on “an accelerated recruitment drive” to redress the balance, adding that the new locations also gave consultants more places to work from if they needed office space.
Mr Jaggard said the ultimate goal was to make Taylor Rose MW an even bigger player in the consumer law market – it is already the fifth largest conveyancing firm in the country.
He said that what drew him to MW was the “underlying quality” of the lawyers and clients.
“I think people sometimes overlooked that. They are very well integrated in lots of communities holding strong goodwill and high-quality contracts in those communities – that has a lot of value attached to it.
“Our strategy until now has been focused on national contracts. I believe the combination of these two approaches, along with our consultancy operation, makes for a powerful combination able to serve consumer clients on every level.”
Mr Jaggard acknowledged that events in recent years – such as the high-profile disciplinary case involving junior solicitor Sovani James – have raised questions about the culture at MW.
He said: “There were issues at MW involving many different parties, which explains in part why it ended in administration. But Taylor Rose MW is very different and we are now running the business and managing the staff in line with our culture and moral compass.”
Mr McMillan said: “Adrian and his team have built a great business that has grown at a phenomenal rate over several years.
“The combination with McMillan Williams offered our staff a fresh start and created a unique three-tiered offering in the market of local, national and consultants-based services that we believe will feed off each to make the whole even greater than the sum of its parts.”
Mr Smith added: “Taylor Rose MW is a forward-thinking firm that understands the demands of the modern legal market from both the clients and lawyers prospective.
“Its combination with McMillan Williams ensures we are now uniquely positioned to challenge slower-moving incumbents.”