Two companies already successfully working in the field of legal practice acquisition, sales and mergers have joined forces to offer an unrivalled range of services and a new level of expertise to prospective takeover and merger candidates.
Legal Futures Associate 360 Legal Group, a leading provider of practical commercial and business improvement advice which has over 700 UK law firms as members, has joined forces with Jepson Holt Consulting, which helps law firms to grow their business and specialises in placing senior lawyers and teams in top firms, to launch new venture 360 Jepson Holt.
360 Jepson Holt will offer the first complete legal mergers and acquisitions support service, from pre-merger assessment and preparation for merger through to post-merger integration.
The company will work with law firms with turnovers ranging from £600,000 to £160m but says that attitude is more important than size, with firms who are in the legal services market or want to be, who know what they are and want to be, who want to make a step change in that direction and are willing to invest in achieving the potential of the business, set to benefit from the service.
360 Jepson Holt has an assessment to help firms ensure they are ready to go forward with merger and can help them prepare if they are not.
Both 360 Legal Group and Jepson Holt have been involved in merger-related consulting work since 2005. 360 has assisted in over 50 mergers, predominately bank driven and for little or no value, whilst Jepson Holt’s track record includes the merger of Harvey Ingram Borneos.
The management team behind the 360 Jepson Holt venture includes Viv Williams, whose practical management insight comes from two decades’ experience in marketing and as managing director of two floated PLCs, and Phil Jepson, who boasts 15 years’ experience as a solicitor, partner and equity partner in four law firms (three in the top 50) in addition to 10 years of working with law firms to help them grow their businesses.
Viv and Phil are supported by Robert Derry-Evans, a director of 360 Legal Group whose 33 years in the legal profession includes spells as managing partner at McKenna & Co and Cameron McKenna, and executive partner of CMS Cameron McKenna; and Martin Griffiths, a director of Jepson Holt who has over 35 years’ experience of the legal profession having worked in two leading London chambers.
Robert and Martin can both bring personal experience to bear, having taken their own practices through mergers.
Phil Jepson said: “360 Legal Group has a strong network in the legal market, a good reputation and a proven track record in merger success and often works internally to help law firms improve how their business works. Jepson Holt also helps law firms grow their businesses, but with an external focus – for example through mergers – helping them to add to their business and grow it.”
“We both understand our market and have a lot of ideas about developing products to sell into it. We like each other’s people and values and our different but complementary strengths fit well together. 360 Legal Group boasts an impressive network and reputation and an outstanding consulting team. Jepson Holt has an excellent research capability, transaction management and facilitation expertise and an enviable standing. It’s a very strong relationship.
“The trend is for firms of all shapes and sizes to be more open to growing through merger and acquisition – no one feels safe, however large they are. Merger and acquisition offers the possibility to make a step change in the growth of the business and firms are starting to see that and becoming more open to take over by larger players.”
“The legal market is starting to change and the pace of that change is set to increase.” agrees Viv Williams. “Law firms need to change and grow to compete and survive and mergers and acquisitions can be a key part of that, provided it is done well.
“There are some 10,980 solicitors practices in England and Wales with 86% of those having five partners or less. Many will be too small to compete in the modern market, especially post de-regulation, whilst others have no idea of what to do and little value in their practice. The market as a whole is too fragmented and needs to consolidate.
“Add to this the impending implementation of the Legal Services Act with external competition and capital and the formation of new structures; increasing regulation and compliance; rising professional indemnity costs and the poor state of the economy and it is clear that a wave of consolidation is in order, which will not slow down for the foreseeable future.
“360 Jepson Holt intends to be at the forefront of that consolidation wave offering the largest, most experienced and most comprehensive merger service with the greatest range of services under one roof.”