Review of the year 2003: Addleshaws-Theodores merger

Everybody loves a wedding, and the Addleshaw Booth & Co-Theodore Goddard tie-up sure was a beauty.

News of the happy union came in February, when www.thelawyer.com revealed that national heavyweight Addleshaw Booth & Co and City mid-sizer Theodores had entered into exclusive merger negotiations on Valentine’s Day. The pair officially tied the knot on 1 May, coinciding with a profits slump in both legacy firms.

The merged firm suffered a heavy setback in June when it lost its place on the Barclays panel. The Lawyer reported on 16 June that while Addleshaw Goddard had competed for a place on the panel, Barclays was said to be concerned about the merged entity.

Partner departures are par for the course after mergers, and Addleshaw Goddard was no exception. In November, Simon Clark became the second intellectual property (IP) partner to jump ship in three months, following the departure of the head of non-contentious IP Lesley Hall to Farrer & Co.

On 17 November, The Lawyer’s Naomi Rovnick revealed that the firm was gearing up for its second round of partner redundancies. Sources close to the firm indicated that up to 12 partners would be asked to leave the firm, although management was not planning any formal announcement. Legacy Theodores partners were said to be concerned that the cuts would primarily affect their numbers. The news was hardly a surprise to the partnership – the merger agreement was unusual in that it featured no partnership lock-in, paving the way for partner redundancies later.

Some comfort came for the newly merged firm in October, when the firm kickstarted its employment practice with the hire of Alasdair Simpson from Manches. Then in November the Royal Bank
of Scotland panel was announced, featuring Addleshaw Goddard on the £100m-plus transactional panel.