Manches’ senior management wrote to staff last week informing them that the firm’s equity partners had examined but rejected the possibility of a merger.
It is understood that Manches will continue its discussions with Halliwells with a view to acquiring some elements of the firm. A meeting between the firms is scheduled for this week.
Sources close to Manches said the family practice in particular refused the prospect of a merger.
A Manches source said: “There are massive cultural differences. They’re based in Manchester, we have an office in Oxford. They have a family team in Liverpool, but it isn’t very big. The family practice isn’t at all keen.”
One Manches partner said: “I’m never going to be a Halliwells partner nor will anyone in my team.”
Meanwhile, Halliwells managing partner Ian Austin has stepped down as part of a management rejig that has seen him take up the newly-created post of executive chairman. Liverpool-based corporate partner Jonathan Brown has become managing partner.
In the executive chairman role, Austin will focus on developing strategic and commercial objectives. As managing partner Brown will implement strategy and manage operations and budgets.