The purchase includes two of the firm's six partners Robert Stewart and Paul Morris. Although Ralph C Yablon will retain its name, it will practice as an incorporated component of Last Cawthra.
Last Cawthra managing partner Simon Stell said: “Ralph C Yablon is a long-established Bradford firm and we feel that through its acquisition we'll be in a strong position to move the business forward and demonstrate that we're a proactive player in the market.” He added that the two new partners were a good fit for the firm.
Stewart, former senior partner at Ralph C Yablon, said: “This move is a significant step for the firm and clients of Ralph C Yablon. By joining forces with Last Cawthra Feather, they'll be offered additional legal strengths and even greater expertise within the profession.”
“By joining forces with Last Cawthra Feather, clients will be offered additional legal strengths”
Robert Stewart, Last Cawthra
The assets acquired by Last Cawthra include all work in progress. Bradford clients will be served by the Last Cawthra office.
Not all six of the firm's partners will join Last Cawthra. Bradford firm Schofield Sweeney has hired Jim Staton and Simon Petchley. John Hawkesworth and Peter Hawkesworth will continue their Keighley practice trading under the name Wright Atkinson & Pearson, the firm's name prior to being bought by Ralph C Yablon a decade ago.
Last Cawthra was only interested in its immediate Bradford neighbour. Stell said: “We didn't see the Keighley office as part of our plan.” John and Peter Hawkesworth will retain their Keighley clients.
The deal marks the final chapter for Ralph C Yablon in its previous guise. The firm had shrunk in the past 10 years from 12 to 6 partners. The local legal market is contested mainly by Last Cawthra and Gordons Cranswick.
Last Cawthra has been developing an increasingly corporate focus during the past five years. It has witnessed expansion in commercial property, personal injury litigation and employment work.
The move takes the total number of partners at Last Crawthra to 14, making it one of the largest legal entities in Bradford. The firm boasts additional regional offices in Ilkley and Shipley.