Lupton Fawcett plans further growth with York merger

Yorkshire firm Lupton Fawcett Lee & Priestley and York’s Denison Till have announced they are in negotiations over a potential merger.

The merger would be the fourth bolt-on for Lupton Fawcett in as many years. In October last year the firm merged with fellow Yorkshire outfit Lee & Priestley (12 September 2012), having previously acquired the commercial and private client business of Leeds firm Fox Hayes in 2009 (19 December 2008) and added Sheffield firm Hackett Windle later that year.

Other additions included a team from collapsed firm Ashton Morton Slack (3 January 2011).

The firm has just announced turnover growth of 4.8 per cent for the 2012/13 financial year, bringing revenue to £13m from £12.4m in 2011/12. Lupton Fawcett now employs 220 people including 85 lawyers, of whom 43 are partners.

Managing director Richard Marshall said the merger, if it goes ahead, would add three completely new practice areas to Lupton Fawcett’s offering – contentious construction, landed estates and agricultural, and ecclesiastical – as well as extending its geographical reach.

”We’re not looking at York as an office,” he told The Lawyer. “We’re looking to the achievement of our strategy in being Yorkshire’s mid-market law firm of choice. This would give us a platform to really build up the market to the east of the A1.”

Marshall added that the Lee & Priestly merger had been “incredibly successful”.

Dennison Till managing partner Jonathan Cripps said from his firm’s perspective becoming part of a larger outfit was a compelling proposition.

”The market is accelerating in all directions,” Cripps said. “My view is that we need to be of a larger size to be able to provide a wider offering to the business clietns that we serve. The legal market is changing and I’d prefer to be at the front than at the back.”

Talks are still underway.