Addleshaw Goddard in talks to takeover HBJ Gateley

Avatar photo

By Alex Aldridge on

Combined firm could offer 40 training contracts


The partnerships of Addleshaw Goddard and HBJ Gateley have this morning issued a statement announcing that they are “exploring the potential benefits of a combination”.

The combined firm would bring together Addleshaw’s national and international presence with HBJ’s Scottish offices to create a relative megafirm, with 11 offices in locations including London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hong Kong and Singapore. There’d be over 230 partners, and more than 1,100 lawyers in total. The joint fee income of approximately £224 million would place the firm 15th in the UK.

Currently Addleshaw offers 30 training contracts each year, and HBJ around ten in Scotland, so if the new firm doesn’t reduce trainee places it could be a major graduate recruitment hotspot.

But make no mistake, in its current form this deal is a takeover rather than a merger, with the partners revealing that “it is intended that the business, people and partners of HBJ Gateley will transfer to Addleshaw Goddard”. So there’ll be no fun to be had trying to anticipate a new name combination, as the ‘HBJ Gateley’ brand presumably is simply binned. It’s also worth noting that the move would not effect HJB Gateley’s associated English offices, which operate under the Gateley name and are to be spun-off completely from the firm and continue operating separately.

Senior representatives from both firms have issued statements. Addleshaw’s chief John Joyce talked of his hopes for “improved client and sector offerings across the whole of Great Britain”, while also mentioning the “culturally aligned” nature of the two institutions. He highlighted two practice areas, financial services and real estate, as particularly important in the tie-up.

HBJ Gateley’s senior partner Malcolm McPherson added:

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.

As McPherson alluded to, the deal is subject to approval by both partnerships who will reach a decision over the coming weeks.

The news follows the recent three way tie-up between CMS Cameron McKenna, Nabarro and Olswang to create a 30 office megafirm with combined revenue of nearly £1 billion.

UPDATE: 28/11/16 — 13:18pm

Addleshaw Goddard has now confirmed that it will merge with HBJ’s Scottish offices to create the “UK’s 15th largest legal firm”.

In a joint statement released earlier today, it was revealed that partners from both sides had voted “overwhelmingly” in favour of the new combination.

John Joyce, managing partner at Addleshaw Goddard, said:

We have for a while had an ambition to be present in Scotland and so are delighted with the overwhelmingly enthusiastic response from the partners, clients and staff of both firms. Overall, it’s a great fit for our clients and our people and we are looking forward to realising the collective benefits of our enhanced geographical reach, increased practice and sector bench-strength and flexibility in our delivery approach.

The new firm — which will continue to trade as Addleshaw Goddard — will have over 230 partners and more than 1,100 lawyers. The merger is due to be finalised by June 1 2017.