UPDATED: Addleshaw Goddard in talks over law firms' merger

John Joyce of  Addleshaw Goddard.John Joyce of  Addleshaw Goddard.
John Joyce of Addleshaw Goddard.
ONE of Yorkshire's oldest law firms is set to join forces with a major Scottish law firm to help increase its market share.

The partners of law firms Addleshaw Goddard and HBJ Gateley yesterday confirmed they were exploring the potential benefits of a combination.

In a joint statement, the two firms said the proposed deal was driven “by a desire to improve client and sector offerings”.

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HBJ Gateley is a Scottish law firm with offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, while Addleshaw Goddard has offices in London, Leeds, Manchester, Dubai, Doha, Muscat, Hong Kong and Singapore. The transaction is subject to approval by both partnerships, who are expected to make a decision over the coming weeks.

The law firms said that the combination would deliver legal coverage across Britain, with offices based in the UK’s regional financial centres. The combined firm will also have a growing presence in Asia.

John Joyce, the managing partner of Addleshaw Goddard, said: “A combination would deliver on both firms’ aspirations for improved client and sector offerings across the whole of Great Britain.

“We are culturally aligned and bringing both businesses together will enhance each firm’s bench strength, give greater flexibility and provide a more robust platform from which to establish stronger market positions across core practice areas and in the financial services and real estate sectors in particular.”

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Malcolm McPherson, the senior partner, at HBJ Gateley, said: “There is a clear and compelling rationale behind this proposal. Clients are increasingly demanding true strength in depth across a range of core specialist disciplines and our exploratory talks progressed very quickly as the complementary nature of our teams and geographical presence became apparent.

“A strong cultural fit is at the heart of all successful legal deals and both firms share a pragmatic, commercial approach to client service. Given the partner voting process, we’re taking nothing for granted but are quietly excited about the potential for creating something rather special, given our strongly aligned sector focus and specific critical mass in financial services and real estate.”

The business, staff and partners of HBJ Gateley will transfer to Addleshaw Goddard if the deal is approved by both partnerships.

The combined firm would have 11 offices, and more than 1,100 lawyers in total, and a combined fee income of around £224m. It would rank as the 15th largest law firm in the UK in terms of income.

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The statement added: “Neither firm will comment further until discussions conclude.”

Addleshaw Goddard, which has around 400 staff in Leeds, can trace its Leeds’ roots back to the 18th century, when Booth & Co was founded. In 1997, Addleshaw Sons & Latham merged with Booth & Co to become Addleshaw Booth & Co. Six years later, Addleshaw Booth & Co joined forces with Theodore Goddard to become Addleshaw Goddard.