Kennedys acquires Davies Lavery

<a class=Kennedys acquires Davies Lavery” />Kennedys is set to grow a national network of offices after merging with insurance boutique Davies Lavery.

The merger will give Kennedys an instant footing in Birmingham and Maidstone, as well as a larger base in Chelmsford. A merger with Kershaw Abbott Solicitors in March saw the firm move into Manchester. (The Lawyer, 4 February).

Kennedys senior partner Nick Thomas said the primary aim was to grow its regional office bases through targeting insurance clients.

“They [Davies Lavery] have a lot to teach us about dealing with personal injury work and we are looking to grow that class of business in Birmingham and Manchester,” he said. “Equally we have professional indemnity expertise which they will want to develop in Birmingham and Manchester.”

Davies Lavery senior partner Trevor Davies revealed that the firm had received a number of approaches for mergers, but said the firm was not actively looking for a deal.

“When Nick Thomas approached us we stood down from all talks and looked at the deal,” he said.

Davies Lavery’s turnover has suffered in the last three years, falling from £11.2m in 2004-05 to £10.7m in 2005-06 and a further 16.4 per cent to £9.2m for 2006-07.

The downturn failed to be halted in 2007-08 with the firm reporting £9m turnover, despite targeting £10m through growth of a commercial practice.

Davies said: “It has been a flat year in terms of turnover while we were building up a commercial practice in the Chelmsford office. Those partners are now going their own way and we will be concentrating on insurance clients – which accounts for 95 per cent of the firm.”

Two commercial partners will leave the firm’s Chelmsford office: Mary Sutton and Nick Bowman.

As part of the deal the Davies Lavery name will be dropped and its London office will move in to Kennedys’ London base.