BLG, Hill Dickinson, HBJ Gateley Wareing carve up the remains of Halliwells

Barlow Lyde & Gilbert, HBJ Gateley Wareing and Hill Dickinson have completed their acquisition of failed firm Halliwells.

Barlow Lyde & Gilbert, HBJ Gateley Wareing and Hill Dickinson have completed their acquisition of failed firm Halliwells.

Following several weeks of negotiations Barlow Lyde & Gilbert has agreed to take on the Manchester-based insurance business, comprising a 17-partner team including insurance partner Kevin Finnigan and an additional 220 members of staff including 80 fee-earners. It has also hired two litigation partners in London, Helen Bourne and Damian McPhun, and their respective teams.

The firm, which already has one floor of office space at Chancery Place in Manchester, is assessing whether it will need to take on additional space at Halliwells’ Manchester headquarters at Spinningfields.

HBJ Gateley Wareing will move into the Spinningfields building with the acquisition of Halliwells’ banking & finance, corporate, real estate, real estate litigation, corporate recovery, commercial litigation, intellectual property, employment, pensions and construction teams. Halliwells Manchester head Rod Waldie will run that office.

The national firm has hired a total of 40 partners in Manchester and three further partners in London, bringing its total number of hires from Halliwells, including fee-earners and support staff, to almost 200.

The Liverpool office will go to Hill Dickinson, which has hired 19 partners there including of Halliwells managing partner Jonathan Brown. The firm will also launch in Sheffield with the acquisition of 36 members of staff across the health, corporate, commercial litigation and property practices.

In a separate move Halliwells executive chairman Ian Austin will move over to smaller Manchester firm Heatons to run the commercial litigation department (12 July 2010).

Halliwells filed notice of its intention to appoint an administrator on 24 June, the same day that its quarterly rent bill was due. The move followed a 14 per cent drop in fee income for the 2009-10 financial year, increased indebtedness and significant rent obligations (25 June 2010).