Wave of law firm mergers sweeps across the UK despite declining firm numbers

Notable deals were announced in Merseyside, the East Midlands, the South East, and East Anglia

Wave of law firm mergers sweeps across the UK despite declining firm numbers

In recent weeks, a significant number of mergers have taken place across various regions in the UK, signaling a trend of consolidation within the legal sector, The Law Society Gazette reported.

Notable deals were announced in Merseyside, the East Midlands, the South East, and East Anglia as firms aim to strengthen their operations and expand their geographical footprint.

Gotelee Solicitors, a historic firm with a 150-year legacy and five offices across Suffolk, has merged into the Mezzle Group, known for its innovative model for delivering legal services. Established in major cities, including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi, Mezzle operates as a fee-share consultancy firm with ambitions for international growth.

"By bringing our cutting-edge tech-based solutions into Gotelee’s operations, investing in its staff and bringing in even more talent, we will showcase what Gotelee is and what it represents – one of the best providers of legal services in the East Anglian market,” said Mel Kang, CEO of Mezzle.

In the East Midlands, Hopkins Solicitors expanded its reach by acquiring Miles & Cash Solicitors, a firm specializing in children and care law based in Derbyshire. This marks Hopkins' first venture into Derbyshire, enhancing its community legal services. Renovations have already started at the Miles & Cash office in Heanor, which will soon accommodate a larger team.

Chris Sedgwick, managing partner at Miles & Cash, highlighted the seamless nature of the merger. "Our search for a law firm to transform the business was easy, having known a number of the Hopkins staff personally, we knew they held the same values and high levels of quality service,” he commented.

Meanwhile, the Jackson Lees Group has strengthened its presence in Merseyside by acquiring Farrington Law in Southport. This addition expands Jackson Lees' operational reach, adding to its existing offices in Liverpool city center, Hoylake, and Heswall.

Esther Leach, managing director of Jackson Lees, said, “We’ve been on the lookout for that perfect addition to Jackson Lees Group. It was really important that we found not just the right business, but also the right people, who match who we are and what we do.”

Additionally, Bretherton Law in St Albans has joined the GT Stewart group of firms. This transition coincides with Sandra Bradley, Bretherton’s managing director, stepping down to retire. This follows GT Stewart's recent acquisition of the childcare team from Silks Solicitors in the Midlands.

These mergers come against a backdrop of declining firm numbers in the UK. According to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), 543 firms closed in 2023, whereas only 366 opened, marking a 2 percent decrease from the previous year and a 10 percent drop over the past five years.

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