Law firms Ward Hadaway and Weightmans hold informal merger talks

THE law firms Weightmans and Ward Hadaway have confirmed they are holding informal merger talks.

Jamie Martin of Ward Hadaway

In a joint statement, the firms said that the legal market is changing and “it is always sensible to look at opportunities that might benefit a business, its clients and its staff”.

The statement added: “So Weightmans and Ward Hadaway are currently talking to each other to see if there are benefits of working closer together.

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“We have shared strategic objectives and a significant number of shared clients.

“Whether or not these discussions will lead to anything permanent is, at the moment, unknown but we are enjoying getting to know each other better, sharing ideas and the discussions will be a benefit to our businesses, our clients and our staff even if nothing permanent comes of the discussions.”

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.

The firm merged with Ford and Warren in Leeds in 2015.

Ward Hadaway, which is led by its managing partner, Jamie Martin, has offices in Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle.

The firm’s Leeds office has enjoyed significant growth since it opened in 2008.

It is one of the UK’s Top 100 law firms, and employs more than 450 staff, including many nationally recognised legal experts.