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Troubled niche healthcare firm The Lewington Partnership has been taken over by East Anglian firm Mills & Reeve.
The move comes just seven months after The Lewington Partnership's exclusion from the National Health Service Litigation Authority's (NHSLA) panel of law firms handling medical negligence claims.
The merger will safeguard jobs at The Lewington Partnership's Birmingham head office and its two fee-earner office in Cardiff. But its two-fee-earner Winchester office will be closed in the next two weeks.
Managing partner Tony Lewington left several months ago.
The takeover will now give Mills & Reeve one of the largest healthcare practices in the country with over 75 lawyers specialising in the area.
The two firms are believed to have received approval for the move from the NHSLA. By joining with Mills & Reeve - itself a panel member - lawyers at The Lewington Partnership are likely to continue to handle medical negligence claims.
The NHSLA slashed its panel from 90 firms to 18 in a bid to control the spiralling costs of medical negligence litigation, estimated to cost more than £350m last year.
Mills & Reeve managing partner Duncan Ogilvy said: "The scale of the firm now enables us to resource specialist skills in a way neither of us on our own could hope to do."