Lawyers agree tie-up

HBJ and Addleshaw Goddard confirm merger

Malcolm McPhersonThe partners of Addleshaw Goddard and HBJ have voted to merge their businesses, creating the UK’s 15th largest legal firm.

The merger should complete by 1 June and the enlarged Addleshaw Goddard will have offices in each of the UK’s leading financial centres and a growing presence in Asia.

It will have more than 230 partners, 1,100 lawyers and a total combined fee income of about £224m.

Malcolm McPherson, chairman of HBJ, said: “The combination of two such capable and growing firms is extremely good news for our clients, our people and our partners.

“The overwhelming majority of partners at both firms clearly saw the many benefits of the merger strategy and the fact that it positions us very well for further strong growth.

“In particular, we are confident that our cross-border capabilities will quickly lead to an increased pipeline of business, as existing and future clients learn more about the significant advantages this deal will deliver for them.”

The deal comes after Addleshaw’s failed attempts to tie-up a merger with Maclay, Murray and Spens. Merger talks between the two ended in February.

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. 

Merger speculation in Daily Business 12 November
Merger speculation in Daily Business 12 November


“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.

“This important development is just one aspect of our strategic ambitions and we remain committed to further expansion internationally and in the UK.”

The merger delivers an additional 134 lawyers delivering enhanced sector expertise and particular depth in financial services and real estate across the enlarged firm.

The combination has been driven by increasing client demand for GB-wide legal services. While the two firms have some clients in common, particularly in the financial services sector, their client portfolios are largely complementary.

As a single business, Addleshaw Goddard and HBJ believe it will better meet the needs of clients and the opportunities within the UK market whilst providing a stronger platform to further develop its business and its international scale.

The enlarged firm retains Addleshaw Goddard’s management structure. Charles Penney remains senior partner and John Joyce continues as managing partner.

Malcolm McPherson from HBJ will join the Addleshaw Goddard board. An HBJ partner will also join the executive teams leading each of Addleshaw Goddard’s four operating divisions: Corporate & Commercial, Finance & Projects, Litigation and Real Estate.

HBJ Gateley

  • Offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen
  • FY15/16 turnover : £21.9m, ranking it =8th among Scottish law firms
  • 45 partners and 134 lawyers in total across seven core specialisms : Banking & Finance, Commercial Dispute Resolution, Corporate & Commercial, Corporate Recovery, Employment, Private Client and Real Estate
  • In association with Gateley but has always remained an independent law firm 

Addleshaw Goddard

  • Offices in London, Leeds, Manchester, Dubai, Doha, Muscat, Hong Kong and Singapore
  • FY15/16 turnover £201.8m, ranking it 20th in the UK
  • 188 partners and over 770 other lawyers across 4 operating divisions – Corporate & Commercial; Finance & Projects; Litigation; Real Estate
  • Transaction Services Team –  over 130 paralegals who both support the day to day work of the divisions but also undertake large due diligence and discovery projects
  • AG Consulting and the CDC provides a range of premium services to GCs and in-house legal teams.

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