Categories:Scotland

DWF recovers from shelved Cobbetts talks with Biggart Baillie deal

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  • It feels like 2am at a teen disco. Every firm is pairing off, apart from the ones that nobody wants to partner with.
    I feel a bit sorry for them.

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  • I'm surprised that more firms aren't proactively seeking strategic mergers. For example, Shoosmiths is a lower middle tier firm with good coverage in the South and Midlands. Acquiring their respective firm in the North, probably Dickinson Dees or Cobbetts, would make perfect sense.

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  • Have they sorted the domain name?

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  • Great fit. The combined firm will need a lot more mergers however, and to start thinking about international growth too....

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  • If you're the senior partner and you go looking for a merger, there's a 50% chance you won't have a job in a few months time.
    If you're an older under-performing equity partner then entering into merger negotiations means that your poor record will be openly discussed.
    However if you're a young buck, then you'll be hungry to be part of a bigger, better and more competitive organisation.

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  • I think the domain name is already registered. It's www.shoosmiths.co.uk

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  • Pairing off at 2am at the teen disco rarely created long term happy relationships.....

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  • If you left it until 2am you had no chance, that's when the lights come on. I always made my move at 1.50am and had a formidable strike rate even if most of them looked liked DWF's managing partner - I like a big blonde I do.

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  • Mergers are the only way to survive in this climate for medium to large sized firms. If Dewey can fall, admittedly the management practises were awful there, I think alarm bells should ring. A number of firms are looking at international partnerships as well which seems like a good idea.

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  • "It is not clear whether ’Biggart Baillie’ will eventualy be dropped from the Scottish arm’s name."
    It will be once the clients are used to seeing 'DWF' at the start of everything and the 'DWF Biggart Baillie' stationary runs out.

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  • Stationery.

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  • In terms of the choice merger targets, it does feel like we're at 1:50am.

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  • This is a definite win for Biggarts, who most people would probably have expected to be left behind in the "decent" merger activity, leaving them struggling in the medium term without a good merger. They have done well to make a jump on their Scottish mid market competitors with what looks like a meaningful merger giving genuine UK presence.
    Some of the other mid market firms have only made what would essentially be bolt on acquisitions which won't really change their prospects (e.g. Tods Murray). The name of the game now for Scottish firms is UK-wide offerings with scale, as there are going to be growing numbers of merged firms covering the UK from John O Groats to Lands End.
    Burness, Morton Fraser, Macroberts et al will need to move fast.

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  • Having nearly 50% of your revenue coming from the insurance market is a dangerous place to be. One change and bye-bye PEP.
    No doubt this will be at the back of Leaitherland’s mind

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  • The insurance market is one of the safest. It's a good rock upon which to build a large firm.

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  • Why on earth is having 50 percent of your revenue from the insurance market a bad thing? I work for a competitor so am no DWF cheerleader, but whenever there is a DWF story on here there are daft statements, I assume from worried competitors.
    Insurance is one of the safest and recession proof areas in which to practise. Remember Hammonds made that mistake.

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  • Anonymous - true, until the insurers take their instructions elsewhere. As happened to Silverbeck Rymer, 5 years ago. Or CIS etc taking their fraud work from Weightmans, 3 years ago.

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  • Hence why they are expanding into other markets?
    Seems an intelligent strategy to me.

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  • "Insurance is one of the safest and recession proof areas in which to practise."
    Famous last words. Once the Jackson reforms are implemented and the claimant personal injury industry (not before time) goes into serious recession the amount of work for defendant solicitors will also decline dramatically.

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  • CPR was going to damage PI work, predictable fees was going to do the same. It continues to increase and these firms who are good insurance practises generally do very well despite the downward pressure on fees. Jackson will likely have the same limited effect. Most of the bigger players in the Claimant market and most of the firms acting in the dubious claims are already gearing up for their bolt on accident management companies via the ABS route. The claims culture is not going away. Dwf seems to have a great mix of business- insurance as a bread and butter recession proof backbone, matched in equal measure by company and commercial. I think they will go top 20 in the next 3 to 5 years.

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