Irwin Mitchell makes first strategic move since securing £60m funding with Cambridge launch

Irwin Mitchell is due to open its ninth UK office in Cambridge less than a month after the firm secured a £60m funding facility from a trio of banks last month.

The new office will be led by partner Neil Whiteley, who will transfer from his current role as a special injury partner in the Sheffield office and become regional managing partner for Cambridge. London-based partner Rosemary Giles, who specialises in asbestos-related disease cases, will also relocate to Cambridge. 

The move comes weeks after Irwin Mitchell opened a Southampton base with regional managing partner Guy Darlaston, who transfered to the office from London (10 February 2014). The step marked the firm’s first regional launch since opening in Bristol in 2010 (16 February 2010).

The Cambridge office will eventually offer family law, clinical negligence and public law advice, with the firm also confirming that it intends to add specialists in Court of Protection work. The office will open in June.

In a statement today Irwin Mitchell linked the Cambridge opening to the recent £60m funding facility secured from HSBC, Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland last month (27 March 2014), adding that the firm had been assessing the local market for some time before taking this decision. The finance package replaced the firm’s existing overdraft and is committed for a four-year period initially.

The majority of the £60m core funding is understood to have been provided by HSBC, which has committed 50 per cent, while Lloyds and RBS are responsible for 25 per cent each. The ‘accordion facility’ or additional £30m buffer will be split across the banks in the same proportions.

According to the firm’s latest LLP filing, its overdraft facility increased by £4.6m between 1 May 2012 and 30 April 2013, making the total overdraft £19.8m at 2012/13 year end.  

Whiteley said in a statement: ”Cambridge is the next step in Irwin Mitchell’s regional development strategy. We see the local market as being exciting and progressive and we feel our offering will be well suited to it and of real interest to clients.”

Irwin Mitchell recorded income of more than £200m for the first time in 2012/13 (17 May 2013).