TWO Yorkshire law firms have merged to create a practice with 240 staff and £14m turnover.
Huddersfield-based Chadwick Lawrence has moved into the fiercely competitive Leeds market by merging with Godloves.
The combined firm will carry the Chadwick Lawrence name, which can trace its roots back to the 1840s.
Chadwick Lawrence managing partner Jeremy Garside said it would help the firm to live up to its title of “Yorkshire’s Legal People”.
Before the merger, Chadwick Lawrence had 200 staff, while Godloves, which is based in Leeds city centre, had around 50.
Mr Garside said Chadwick Lawrence had been thinking about moving into Leeds for at least two years.
“It was about finding the right opportunity in a difficult market. We plan to bring more staff into Leeds,’’ Mr Garside said yesterday.
Mr Garside, who will be senior partner of the merged firm, said Chadwick Lawrence and Godloves initially made contact through a third party, and discovered that they shared the same principles and values.
Godloves’ management team was attracted by chance to gain greater resources through a merger with a bigger firm.
Mr Garside stressed that Chadwick Lawrence’s head office would stay in Huddersfield.
He added: “It’s a very significant moment for us. We are creating the right sort of firm with the right size, at the right time. We believe that Godloves complements Chadwick Lawrence and together we can offer a fresh approach to legal services within Leeds and the Yorkshire region.”
Last year saw the introduction of the Legal Services Act, which allows non-lawyers to invest in and own legal practices.
The aim of the reforms, according to some analysts, is to allow consumers to access legal services as easily as buying a can of beans. There have been concerns it will lead to the “commoditisation” of legal services.
In response to these changes, Mr Garside said it was important for law firms to achieve critical mass and create a strong brand.
Mr Garside said: “There are clearly challenges ahead, not least from the fact that there will be greater competition. You have got to work much harder to get work in.
“Our last financial results were excellent; we had significant increases in turnover and profitability.”
Mr Garside confirmed that Chadwick Lawrence’s turnover last year was £10.4m, and he said the firm was “continuing to move forward in terms of fees and profitability”.
Apart from Leeds and Huddersfield, Chadwick Lawrence now has offices in Wakefield, Halifax, Pudsey and Morley. It also has three satellite offices in Chapel Allerton, Beeston and Garforth, which used to be part of Godloves.
Paul Carvis and Kumer Ali, who were partners with Godloves, will become partners in the new firm.
Mr Carvis will become the manager of the Leeds Office, while Mr Ali will be head of property litigation. Mr Carvis, the former managing partner with Godloves, added: “The news has given a huge boost to the team, who are delighted to now be part of such a progressive and successful larger operation.”