THE North East’s biggest law firm is to merge with a South West company from May next year to create a £95m business with offices the length and breadth of the United Kingdom.
Newcastle-based Dickinson Dees has completed a merger of equals with Bond Pearce and will trade as part of a business twice its current size by May next year.
Creating a major new law firm, Bond Dickinson will have 1,200 staff and operations in eight UK locations.
As part of the merger agreement, the firms will combine their London offices under one roof, to accommodate existing teams and new recruits.
Jonathan Blair, managing partner of Dickinson Dees, will become managing partner of Bond Dickinson and Nick Page, chairman of Bond Pearce, will be chairman of the new firm.
John Marshall, of Dickinson Dees, and Victor Tettmar, of Bond Pearce, will complete the senior management team.
“We are delighted that we have reached an agreement to merge,” said Blair. “As we said when we announced our discussions, both firms had clearly articulated strategies.
“Our merger is a major step in the delivery of those plans, and our new scale will give us the strength in depth and sector insight to support our clients’ growth plans. The merger will give us a strong base for further growth and lateral recruitment.”
Where Bond Pearce is the 57th largest law firm in the UK, the 58th biggest is Dickinson Dees.
Marshall said economies were achievable, but that a decision on whether staff numbers would be reduced had not been made.
He stressed that the firm was very aware of its North East home, where most of its clients are based, and that it would always have a strong presence in the region, that Newcastle would continue to host its biggest office and that management would have to be “fairly itinerant.” More than 20% of Dickinson Dees business comes from outside the North East, and its Leeds office now has 60 staff.
Dickinson Dees has had casual discussions over mergers with firms before, but this is the furthest it has gone, although Marshall said a deal was still not an inevitability and due diligence had not been done.
Bond Pearce had merger discussions previously with Scottish firm Maclay Murray & Spens but ended them earlier this year.
Page added: “Both firms have had a great deal of support and encouragement from their clients during this process.
“Bond Dickinson will draw on the best of both firms to deliver outstanding client service, and build on the great reputation that each has for quality work.
“Both firms identified early on in our discussions that they shared a similar culture and core values. At the heart of Bond Dickinson will be our desire to build on these to create strong relationships with our clients and within the new firm.”