THE North East's biggest law firm is in talks to merge with a South West firm to create a £95m business with offices the length and breadth of the United Kingdom.
Newcastle-based Dickinson Dees expects to complete “a merger of equals” with Bond Pearce by the end of November and trade as part of a business twice its current size by May next year.
The deal would help realise both firms’ ambitions to create a Top 20 UK law firm, which would have a combined 1,200 staff including 450 lawyers and 125 partners.
But the 200-year-old Newcastle firm could not confirm whether the headquarters of the new business would remain in the city forever.
It also said that discussions were at too early a stage to reveal the merged firm’s new name or guarantee the jobs of its 600 staff until after the deal was completed.
Dickinson Dees senior partner John Marshall said: “In a challenging legal market, we feel we have to take action.
“This would maintain our position while improving the range of services we can offer to our clients both inside and outside the region.”
He said that adding his firm’s offices in Newcastle, Leeds, London and Teesside to the Bristol firm’s offices in Aberdeen, Bristol, London and Plymouth would give it access to a much larger complementary client base and range of expertise, and make it a bigger player in the legal market outside London.
Neither firm is likely to be dominant in the merged business. They have almost exactly the same size workforces and the same £46m-plus turnovers.
And where Bond Pearce is 57th largest firm in the UK, the 58th biggest is Dickinson Dees.