Westminster-based Radcliffes has acquired West End boutique Lithgow Pepper & Eldridge in a move that is designed to help the firm devise a long-term succession plan.
“Succession is our prime issue: we have a disproportionate number of partners at 55-plus.
It’s common at a lot of firms,” senior partner Tim Newsome explained.
He added that Radcliffes needs to fill its mid-tier ranks. “We need to find the people who’ll bring in the work for the younger lawyers,” he explained.
The acquisition will swell the firm’s partnership by two. Robert Rowe is to become a partner in the tax and private client department and Stephen Blair will join the private client team as a partner.
The acquisition is the latest in a line for the firm, which has spent much of 2009 bolstering its ranks.
In March it appointed sole practitioner Simon Goldring as head of private client; in June it hired Mishcon de Reya partner Mark Baker to its commercial property practice; and in August it added partners Mike Wood and Gavin Ballance to its litigation practice from boutique Gardner Austin.
Newsome said any partner joining the firm would need to bring with them their own client following.
“We look at sole practitioners as being a standalone practice,” he said. “There’s a lot of business sense in those firms.”
Last month private client and property boutique Forsters tapped Radcliffes for its former private client chief Kelly Noel Smith (The Lawyer, 31 August).