Shakespeares, Needhams merge to create £24m Birmingham giant

Birmingham-based Shakespeare Putsman is to merge with Midlands rival Needham & James, creating a £24m, 56-partner firm.


Paul Wilson
Paul Wilson

Birmingham-based Shakespeare Putsman is to merge with Midlands rival Needham & James, creating a £24m, 56-partner firm.

The deal is set to go live on 1 July. It follows the merger of Shakespeares and Putsmans three years ago, which created a firm that posted revenues of £18.3m last year, and underlines the current acceleration of consolidation in the UK legal market.

Paul Wilson, Shakespeare Putsman chief executive said the extreme economic conditions experienced over the past two years had intensified competition and complexity within the legal marketplace. 

“Our clients’ are rightly increasing their demands for exceptional technical expertise, a broader range of legal services and greater value for money,” Wilson stated. “This merger provides us with additional capability across a number of practice areas and will significantly strengthen our private client and property services, including the addition of a very experienced and nationally regarded social housing team.”

The new firm will be called Shakespeare Putsman, with the Needham & James brand disappearing except in its Stratford office.

Herbert Andrews, Needham & James’ managing partner, said: “In recent years we’ve recognised that in order to continue to service our clients’ expanding requirements we need to be part of a larger organisation. By joining forces with Shakespeare Putsman we can make the necessary investment and continue to provide exceptional service to our clients across the UK.”

Needham & James’ revenue last year was £7.3m, down from £8.9m in 2008-09. In January this year the firm’s senior partner John Hughes revealed that the firm was looking to bulk up in anticipation of the challenges raised by the Legal Services Act (4 January 2010).