Law firms merger talks fall through

Merger talks between law firms Ward Hadaway and Weightmans have fallen through with both firms saying they have mutually withdrawn from discussions.

The firms said that while they had much in common their respective strategic priorities were not aligned.

John Schorah, managing partner of Weightmans, said: “We have real respect for Ward Hadaway, they have a really good business with very good people. We have many common interests too, but after discussions it became clear that we each want different things from our respective futures.

“We sensibly agreed between us it was better to focus on those things.”

The firms confirmed at the beginning of the year that they were in talks over a potential merger.

In joint statement issued by the two firms in Jaunary, they said that they were “talking to each other to see if there are benefits of working closer together”.

But now they will both continue to forge independent paths.

Jamie Martin, managing partner of Ward Hadaway, said: “We have enjoyed talking to John Schorah and his team and getting to know the people at Weightmans a bit better and we wish them well for the future.”

He added that Ward Hadaway would continue to pursue a startegy of developing a Northern law firm across its three offices in Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle.

“We have exciting opportunities to follow as an independent law firm,” Mr Martin said.

Ward Hadaway’s Leeds office has enjoyed significant growth since it opened in 2008.

The firm employs more than 450 staff.

Weightmans has around 1,400 staff based in offices in Birmingham, Dartford, Glasgow, Knutsford, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London and Manchester.

It acts for many local, police and fire authorities, and many NHS trusts. It also provides a wide range of commercial services for public sector bodies, large institutions, owner managed businesses and PLCs.

Last year, Weightmans posted a turnover of £95.1m, an increase of almost £6m on the previous year.

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