Radcliffes continues to grow with Lithgow swoop

Tim Newsome

Tim Newsome

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).