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Mills & Reeve’s merger with Manchester's George Davies on 1 June 2013 boosts the firm’s presence to 870 staff and creates a full-service law firm in northern England, according to Mills & Reeve managing partner Guy Hinchley.

Combined revenue is expected to reach £77m, increasing the 2011–12 turnover of £69.4m. The financial integration pushes the total number of partners to 112 in six offices across Birmingham, Cambridge, Leeds, London, Manchester and Norwich.

‘We are very excited about the potential that our increased scale gives us in the north and the further career opportunities that it creates for the talented lawyers and business support professionals,’ Hinchley said. The firm will be branded Mills & Reeve in all its offices.

Mark Hovell, George Davies’ managing partner, said the Manchester firm chose Mills & Reeve because of their synergy, culture and ability to offer specialist advice to a larger client base.

‘This merger will enable us to offer our clients access to a wider range of legal services and specialist sector advice from the Mills & Reeve national practice and international networks and also to pursue new clients who have previously been beyond our reach,’ he said.

Mills & Reeve has worked on several high-profile deals in the past year, including management of the Weetabix Food Company on a major investment from Bright Food. Bright Food acquired 60 per cent of the share capital of Weetabix for an enterprise value of £1.2bn. Mills & Reeve’s corporate finance partner Stephen Hamilton advised on a £6.15m institutional fundraising for Bango, a leading mobile technology company that counts BlackBerry, Facebook, CNN and Thomson Reuters among its clients, while George Davies partner Chris Ross led the team advising Barleymow Ltd on the sale of its Ormskirk-based caravan park for an undisclosed sum.

George Davies celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2013, a year of change for both firms, with Mills & Reeve making six new internal partner appointments on 1 June. In March, Vince Cable, secretary of state for business, innovation and skills, visited Cambridge to mark the opening of a new Mills & Reeve office. Dr Cable described Cambridge as the ‘Silicon Valley of Britain’. 

In the past year, much of Mills & Reeve’s financial growth has been led by corporates — including finance and litigation but not PFI — contributing the most to turnover at 38 per cent (£26.3m). Property (including PFI and agriculture) at 28 per cent (£19.4m) of total revenue and ‘other’ (covering insurance and private client) made up 34 per cent (£23.5m) of total income.

The firm has also been ‘managing the margin’ by using its lowest overheads base in Norwich as a paralegal support unit, mainly for documentation discovery in large litigation matters. This is in response to its public sector clients putting pressure on rates.

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Fountain House
130 Fenchurch Street

Turnover (£m): 79.50
No. of lawyers: 367