Nottingham merger aims to hit top five

Two Nottingham-based law firms are merging to form one of the largest practices in the east Midlands.

The marriage of Berryman & Co and Shacklocks, which are of equal size, will create a 19-partner firm and will be called Berryman Shacklock.

The merged firm hopes to challenge Nottingham's bigger players, including Browne Jacobson, Shoosmiths, Eversheds, Nelsons and Freeth Cartwright Hunt Dickins.

Charles Harrington of Berryman & Co, who will retain his position as managing partner at the new firm, says that the merger will push the firm into the top five in the area.

He says: “In Nottingham there are probably three or four big players, and there is a fairly large gap between us and them.

“This is a leap forward to fill that gap, and we think the new firm will be attractive to teams from other firms. We are aiming to get into the niche behind the big firms, and then see what happens.”

The merged firm will focus on commercial law as the two firms have strong commercial departments. Private client services and insurance litigation work will also be developed.

Oliver Brookshaw, corporate partner at leading Nottingham firm Shoosmiths, says: “The merger may be beneficial for the firms in their own marketplace, but in terms of moving themselves up the market ladder I would be very surprised if it made much difference.”