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Blake Lapthorn, Boyes Turner and Morgan Cole explore three-way merger

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  • Blake Turner Cole would be a very Romantic name - William Blake, JMH Turner, Thomas Cole. On that basis alone, they should go for it.

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  • I cannot see an incentive for merger between these three firms: it would just lead to duplication, "rationalisation" and job losses, particularly where firms are based in the same geographical location in Reading. Both BT and BL are full service law firms and work in similar sectors and MC will just be faltering from loss of income. There is no incentive to prop up MC at all.

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  • In this climate, it is almost becoming the norm to explore some kind of merger, and firms are almost scared in case they get left out. It probably takes more effort to stand back and take time to do a careful cost/benefit analysis than to go with the flow...

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  • Blake Lapthorn have the most dire balance sheet imaginable
    . I suspect these talks will abort as soon as that becomes apprarent to the others.
    But the other aren't in good shape either, so you've got 3 drowning men clinging together.
    It's not going to happen

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  • There is absolutely no incentive for BT and MC in Reading to merge, the former has the better clients (and more of them), and the latter is just looking to merge arising from loss of insurance teams/insurance revenue. BT could take individual lawyers they chose to from MC at any time, so there is no real need to buy the entire shop!

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  • An overly simplistic attempt to link up South Coast, London, Welsh and Thames Valley offices.
    Can only lead to duplication and job losses in Reading and Oxford.
    There has to be real added value to make a merger worthwhile: these firms all offer the same range of services. Where is the benefit/gain?

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  • If you look at revenue figures alone for 2012/13, Morgan Cole is the firm in difficulties here.
    They have been steadily downsizing the insurance division for a number of years, but with the loss of practically all of insurance from Cardiff and Bristol, the worst may be yet to come in terms of their revenue slide.
    Why bail that out?

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  • Oh dear.
    So this is what the downsizing in the Thames Valley, and the departure of Bristol and Cardiff insurance has led to.
    It makes no sense though to lose proftable work/litigators. How is this going to make the intermittent income of the commercial bods remaining at Morgan Cole look more attractive on paper?

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  • Boyes Turner is a highly rated, leading, award winning Thames Valley firm, with a large number of very high profile clients. Added to that, they turn a good profit, and
    have a happy and productive team/culture. I cannot see what a merger with BL would achieve, and MC have foolishly whittled themselves down to near nothing in the Thames Valley and are now no doubt simply looking for access to new clients.

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  • I think the Thames Valley office of MC are the ones pushing for a merger, for what should now be obvious reasons. It amuses me that they are losing Bristol insurance (Cardiff too), when they systematically dismantled the Thames Valley teams (and even their former managing partner and then head of FOIL has disappeared), in order to pay for and build up Bristol. Had the likes of Carr, McLaughlin, Richards and Cole junior had any foresight, or put any strategy in place (rather than their constant focus on profiteering), it may have dawned on them that when all of their insurance lawyers/teams have gone (for one reason or another), then the profits may disappear along with them. Of course, that would require some intelligence.

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  • What a disappointing legacy for Elizabeth Carr: thriving insurance to no insurance.

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  • I wonder what Freud would make of this modern day legal obsession with size?

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  • In reality, a top 40/50 firm comes about because of highly diligent and dedicated lawyers, services which are finely attuned to clients' needs, unequalled legal expertise, market foresight, strategy and overall good management.

    These kinds of talks, mergers and bolt-ons are just the cheats way into the top 40.

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  • I wonder why Anony Miss is not prepared to disclose his/her gender and identity

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  • A three-way hey? Desperate times, desperate deeds ...

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  • It is interesting that there is, as yet, no comment from BT, and only from BL and MC.

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  • I would look really carefully at the insurance revenue from the TV, Cardiff & Bristol
    at Morgan Cole in previous years, and then consider the balance sheet without it.

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  • Hang on a minute, Boyes won "Regional Law Firm of the Year 2012", did they not?

    If I were them, and if I were minded to merge, I would be talking to city firms who were in the market for a top quality regional base.

    Nothing to gain from a merger with lesser regional firms, within similar sectors.

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  • They also won it in 2010 if my memory serves me well.

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  • The departure of Bristol and Cardiff insurance teams is, effectively, a vote of no-confidence.
    That too when the current managing partner is the former head of insurance.
    If ever there was a time for the remaining sectors to explore their options with other firms, whether as individuals or teams, it is now.
    I cannot see another firm taking on Morgan Cole lock, stock and barrel.

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  • Cannot help wondering who prematurely leaked these discussions ... usually this is done by whichever party wants to force the agenda.

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  • I am still left wondering where the former head of insurance has disappeared to (and former head of FOIL), who was based in Reading, as was the previous insurance head ... I suspect you no longer need a head of insurance when all the staff have legged it.

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  • For anyone who thinks there is anything to gain from a merger like this, it may be worth noting that the main gain is likely to be substantially increased overheads. Any geographical gains are unlikely to yield increases in clients for lawyers locally, and neither are lawyers from a newly merged firm likely to cross-refer work either, not when operating in similar/the same sectors.

    I entirely agree with whoever said Boyes should be looking for a city firm partner.

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  • By the time these leaks hit the press talks are usually pretty far progressed, if not determined.
    That may explain Morgan Cole off-loading their remaining defendant insurance teams, which may be a conflict with the claimant work done by Boyes Turner and Blake Lapthorn?

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  • There are city firms in the market looking for lower cost regional bases, and I think Boyes Turner, award winning firm that they are, would do better to explore this.

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  • Morgan Cole would be the only one to benefit.

    Their Swansea office is now near negligible in terms of numbers, the second Reading office which housed one of the defendant insurance teams is now no longer, Bristol is on the verge of closing, and their fledgling London office never got off the ground.

    The reality is (and the Welsh element of Morgan Cole are likely to go their own way in the near future, as is the Welsh legal system generally), that only leaves Morgan Cole with Reading and Oxford, the liabilities of which they also appear to now want to off load, or to share with Boyes Turner in Reading and/or Blake Lapthorn in Oxford.

    Hope the other two firms can spot all of this.

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  • There was bullying of insurance solicitors by insurance partners in Reading, who were isolated and picked off one at a time. I doubt, though, that any of the non-insurance partners have a clue as to what has actually gone on there over the last few years. So just a word of warning, be careful as who you decide to merge with.

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  • You forgot Morgan Cole Croydon. That office failed too and the remnants who were able to commute to Reading did so, under Richards (who then dedicated himself to steering work away from the Reading solicitors).

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  • Blake Turner Cole? Spare us please. And what exactly does Cole stand for except for the worst example of father/son nepotism in the Thames Valley. Surely one to avoid.

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  • Morgan Cole used to have multiple defendant insurance teams over multiples offices and, I recall, so much work flowing in that solicitors could barely handle it at times. That said, the management of this sector has been directionless (no, clueless) for so long now that any solicitor with any foresight/intellect will be long gone: I am actually surprised that the few remaining teams have managed to hang on for as long as this.

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  • One of the worst things I saw was a solicitor moved from Morgan Cole Reading over to Croydon, and then that office promptly closed and the solicitor made redundant on the basis of LIFO. That was done by Richards.

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