Following Partnership votes, leading UK law firms Bircham Dyson Bell (BDB) and Pitmans have announced they are to merge. The combined firm, BDB Pitmans, will officially launch on 1st December and will be fully integrated both operationally and financially, propelling it towards the Top 50 UK law firms with combined revenues of over £50 million. The complementary practices of each firm will widen and enhance the offering to clients, providing market-leading advice across a number of sectors and areas of law.
BDB Pitmans will operate from four locations: London, Reading, Cambridge and Southampton. The firm of 80 partners and over 400 staff will be led by legacy BDB managing partner, Andrew Smith and chief operating officer, Mark Jones, alongside an Executive Board consisting of John Hutchinson (managing partner of legacy Pitmans), Suzanne Brooker (deputy managing partner of legacy Pitmans), David Archer (senior partner of legacy Pitmans) and three legacy BDB Partners. Helen Ratcliffe of legacy BDB will be senior partner of the combined firm.
The legacy firms have also taken this opportunity to vote on converting to an Alternative Business Structure (ABS). Once regulatory approval has been obtained, this more agile structure will enable the merged firm to take advantage of opportunities that arise to expand services and resources as it develops and grows.
In addition to the expanded geographic footprint, the combined firm will offer clients increased strength and depth across its areas of expertise, particularly in infrastructure and regeneration, corporate, and for high-net-worth and ultra-high-net worth individuals, supported by all legal disciplines. For the partners and employees of BDB Pitmans, the increased revenue of the merged firm will enable investment in its people and systems, as well as supporting further growth in key areas.
Andrew Smith, managing partner of legacy BDB, commented:
‘We are delighted that the Partnership voted overwhelmingly in favour of this merger. From our earliest discussions we saw clear alignment both in the cultural fit between the two firms and the practical benefits of what our combined offering geographically and in practice areas would bring to our clients and our people. We look forward to working with our new colleagues and launching our fully integrated firm in December.’
Legacy Pitmans Managing Partner, John Hutchinson, said:
‘This is indeed an important day for both firms and we have every reason to celebrate. The essential process of due diligence and consultation has resulted in a merger that genuinely ticks all the boxes for client service, culture, people and finance. Pitmans has been serving our clients for over 140 years and it is with great pride we share this exciting news that will secure and drive the firm’s future success.’
BDB is widely recognised through awards and in the legal directories across its practice areas and enjoys a unique heritage as a leading parliamentary firm. Clients include Transport for London, National Grid and London Luton Airport Limited. Pitmans has been recognised as 1 of 7 best-performing ‘trailblazing’ firms in The Lawyer UK 200 report. Its clients, including SKY, Red Funnel, finnCap and Vanderbilt Homes, draw confidence from the top tier recognition Pitmans achieves in the industry benchmarking directories, Legal 500 and Chambers UK. Combined, BDB Pitmans will have over 40 rankings in the Legal 500.