Addleshaw Goddard set to merge with Maclay Murray & Spens to create Anglo-Scottish megafirm

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By Thomas Connelly on

Combined firm could become one of the biggest sources of training contracts in the UK


Northern giant Addleshaw Goddard is lining up to merge with one of Scotland’s big four, Maclay Murray & Spens.

According to reports earlier today, the management from both firms met this summer and subsequently gave the move the green light, subject to a partner vote.

Addleshaw Goddard, which offers around 30 training contracts annually, has offices in London, Leeds, Manchester and five further outposts overseas. Glasgow-headquartered Maclay Murray & Spens offers around 25 training contracts each year across its Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London offices.

If the merger gets the go-ahead — with a proposed going live date of 1 May 2016 — this would take the combined training contract offering to around 55, similar to that of Hogan Lovells. Only nine firms in the UK offer more. However, if history is anything to go by, there is usually a period of consolidation a year or so down the line, when the newly formed firm looks to reduce its training contract numbers.

Legal Cheek understands that the move — which would see Addleshaw Goddard gain its first footing in the Scottish legal market — was only revealed to the firm’s lawyers yesterday amid concerns that news publications had become aware of the story.

According to the latest financial stats, the new firm would have a healthy combined turnover of £236m.

In the last financial year Addleshaw has seen revenues rocket by 12% to £192.5 million. Meanwhile Maclays’ revenue has remained fairly flat, recording just a £200,000 increase to £43.5 million last year. The boost in revenue would see the combined outfit leap frog competitors such as DAC Beachcroft and Irwin Mitchell to reach a similar size to Anglo-German firm Taylor Wessing.

If Addleshaw follows through with the move, it wouldn’t be the first English firm to have looked north of the boarder as an option for expansion.

Back in May 2014, Pinsent Masons merged with Scottish law firm McGrigors. This was followed more recently by CMS Cameron McKenna swallowing up Edinburgh-headquartered Dundas & Wilson in 2014.

The news coincides with the end of Addleshaw’s senior partner Monica Burch’s second spell in the top spot. One of just a handful of female law firm leaders, Burch was elevated to the highest echelons of the firm’s management back in 2010. Today she told The Lawyer (registration required):

I stood in 2010 and again in 2013 on the basis that I would only stand for two terms of office. This is because I believed that a healthy business needs to ensure that no one person becomes embedded in any of our leadership roles for too long a period of time.

The proposed merger will, at least, be the perfect excuse for Addleshaw to initiate a firm-wide rebrand. Earlier this year, Legal Cheek revealed that its redesigned logo — that only went live back in March — shared a striking resemblance to that of fellow law firm Anthony Gold Solicitors.

It’s just a shame that a spokesperson at the time confirmed to Legal Cheek that the logo had been etched in stone at Addleshaw’s London offices. Anyone got the number of a stonemason?