Done deal: Irwin Mitchell gobbles up Thomas Eggar as quest for legal market domination continues

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By Thomas Connelly on

More merger mania


National law firm Irwin Mitchell has confirmed that it has struck a deal with mixed regional practice Thomas Eggar that will see the firms become one.

An indication of who will wear the trousers in this partnership is that the Thomas Eggar name will disappear from next year and the firm will be known simply as Irwin Mitchell.

Rumours that Irwin Mitchell was eyeing up Berkshire-headquartered Thomas Eggar have been circulating among the legal press over the last few weeks, but the firms have remained tight-lipped until now.

Confirming the deal this morning, Irwin Mitchell noted that this is the biggest merger in the firm’s 103 year history — but the eighth tie-up by the fast-growing outfit since 2012.

National-powerhouse Irwin Mitchell is based in Sheffield and has 11 offices across the UK, including in London. Thomas Eggar, which is known for its retail, financial services, technology and media work, has just six offices. To date the firms have offered 50 and eight training contracts respectively each year.

The merger means the new combined firm will presumably up its trainee intake to almost 60 positions annually. That figure would put it on a par with international outfits Eversheds and Hogan Lovells — and make it the ninth highest offerer of training contracts in the land.

Turnover will also see a welcome boost as a result of the move.

Irwin Mitchell revealed earlier this summer that turnover had risen from £202.7 million to £210.6 million in the last financial year. With Thomas Eggar reporting a turnover north of £40 million in 2014, the newly formed firm will be on track to boast a healthy £250 million plus turnover if the multiple practice area synergies between the firms yield growth.

This figure will put Irwin Mitchell into the financial league of international outfits like Bird & Bird and Taylor Wessing.

The move continues a sustained period of growth for Irwin Mitchell following the acquisition of its alternative business structure (ABS) licence in 2012. Last year Irwin Mitchell purchased boutique Mayfair outfit Berkeley Law, while in 2013 it snapped up personal injury specialists MPH Solicitors. Meanwhile, Thomas Eggar itself merged with London commercial outfit Pritchard Englefield back in May 2013.

Today’s announcement follows yesterday’s news that northern powerhouse Addleshaw Goddard is in advanced merger talks with top Scottish law firm Maclay Murray & Spens. Reports suggest that management from both firms have met and given the move the green light, subject to a partner vote.

With mergers appearing to be the in thing, law students should take note of who’s eyeing up who: the firm you are applying to this year may technically no longer exist by the time it comes to commencing your training contract.