McCormicks split by MBO; Clarion is born

Leeds-based sports and media specialist McCormicks is to split following a management buy-out by six equity partners to form their own practice.

The six equity partners, led by family and private client partner Mark Burns, will form Clarion Solicitors on 1 February, and will practice out of the current McCormick’s Leeds office.

“We saw there was a point where our interests in the direction of the firm might diverge,” said Clarion IP partner Clive Lawrence. “This is an evolution that allows both sides to move forward and get on with what we do.”

The buy-out is understood to have been amicable, and was agreed upon after only short negotiations.

“It gives us the opportunity to do a few things with the firm that we wanted to do, but nothing revolutionary,” said Lawrence.

Burns will become managing partner of Clarion, while corporate IP partner Lawrence, corporate recovery partner Roger Hutton, corporate finance partner Richard Moran, corporate crime partner Robert Rode and commercial litigation partner Simon Young all become equity partners in the new firm. Burns, Lawrence, Hutton and Moran will form the firm’s senior management team.

Name partner Peter McCormick and fellow equity partners Neil Goodrum and Geoff Rogers all had their shares bought out for an undisclosed sum. McCormick and Goodrum will join Rogers at the firm’s Harrogate office where they will continue trading as McCormicks.

McCormick said in a statement: “It is very rare for solicitors to be able to sell a business and reap some capital reward for the years spent building it up.”
McCormick is known for his sporting client roster including the Premier League, the Football Association and Leeds United FC.

Lawrence, who also specialises in sports law said: “Peter has a personal connection with those clients and they look likely to follow him. But I would be very happy to work with them in the future.”

Under the deal, the four salaried partners and some 90-odd lawyers at McCormicks Leeds office will switch to operating under the Clarion banner.