South East firm DMH has launched a London presence with the acquisition of niche City practice Fairbairn Morris.
The deal became effective on 5 March and marks the first move to the capital by the firm, previously known as Donne Mileham & Haddock.
Fairbairns specialises in commercial property and litigation. The firm's three partners will become partners in DMH and will share in a fully-integrated remuneration scheme. Partner Lorna Fairbairn says: "I've no doubt that our existing clients will benefit and that together we can grow the DMH brand further."
Fairbairns' existing client base of national property developers will be a major boost to DMH's land development division, a multidisciplinary group aimed at housebuilders and commercial developers. The DMH group was launched last spring and includes chartered planners, planning lawyers, environmental lawyers and property litigators, as well as commercial conveyancers.
DMH managing partner Tim Aspinall says: "We can add value to Fairbairns' existing client base with these other services, and we'll use the office to win more property development work in the future."
Aspinall says he hopes Fairbairns' property client base will also bring commercial and corporate work to DMH. "One of Fairbairns' big clients has already said they need us to do some restructuring within the next few months. They wouldn't have been able to do that before with Fairbairns."
The merger gives DMH a total of 28 partners spread between Brighton, Crawley and London.
Aspinall says: "This is part of our ongoing strategy. We've grown a lot in Brighton and Crawley and those offices are still very important to us.
"But, as a regional firm, we've been attracting a lot of work from throughout the South East, and our studies showed that we were gaining more work in the wider region, a lot of which was from London. We felt that opening a London office would help us in our relationships with those clients and give us the chance to build our brand in London and win more work."
Aspinall says that the firm considered a number of options, including setting up an office from scratch, before deciding that a deal with another firm was the best way to achieve rapid growth in London.
The firm has no immediate plans to move staff to London, but lawyers will be working together across the offices.