EAST Midlands firm Freeth Cartwright Hunt Dickins has expanded into Leicester by taking over four-partner commercial practice Barradales.
The move means the 41-partner firm has a presence in the three major cities in the region – Nottingham, Derby and Leicester.
Three of Barradales’ four partners will become partners at their new firm, but the office will be managed by a Freeth Cartwright partner, Michael Thurston, who is moving to the office with about ten other fee earners from Nottingham.
Barradales’ former senior partner Robert Rowley will head the office’s corporate commercial department.
Thurston will run the firm’s forensic law department from the office.
Barradales, which had ten fee earners, specialised in advising owner-managed companies in the textiles, engineering and electronics sectors.
Rowley said the firm had decided it needed to grow and had snapped up the opportunity to merge with Freeth Cartwright when it was approached by the firm.
“We had decided that we couldn’t get into sufficient of a niche to continue as a small company,” explained Rowley. “The strategy was to try to grow organically but to keep our minds open if a merger opportunity came along.”
Competition for work in Leicester has been hotting up recently.
In the past two years, two Birmingham firms – Howes Percival and Gateley Wareing – have both opened offices in the city.
The largest firm in the city is 27-partner Harvey Ingram Owston. Managing partner Stephen Woolfe said: “From our point of view we welcome the growth in competition.”