The management teams at Pinsents and Masons have made London a priority if the two firms’ merger goes through at the end of the month.
The merger talks, first revealed on www.the lawyer.com (14 September), will conclude with a partner vote next week, and the results will be revealed at the end of the month. If the merger is approved, the new firm, to be named Pinsent Masons, will be launched in December and will be run from London.
Pinsent Masons will have a combined London turnover of £70m. In the last financial year, Masons turned over £40m in London and Pinsents some £30m.
The merger would therefore make it the second-largest City base of any national firm after DLA and would come behind Nabarro Nathanson and just ahead of Macfarlanes in the London table of The Lawyer UK 100 Annual Report.
Despite the two firms’ ambitions to bulk up in London, the weight of their practices is still in the regions. While only 21st by revenues in London, Pinsent Masons is set to be the fifteenth-largest law firm in the UK, with total revenues of £153.7m. In the last financial year, Pinsents’ average profit per equity partner (PEP) was £270,000, with Masons’ PEP averaging £247,000.
A source close to Pinsents said: “The businesses are very complementary in their practice areas and regions.”
The move marks a watershed for Pinsents, which has always run its operations from Birmingham. The firm’s reluctance to relocate its headquarters to London has been blamed for its lack of progress in the City. Its talks with Nicholson Graham & Jones, first revealed by The Lawyer last December, were aimed at boosting its London presence.
However, although Masons grosses more in London, Pinsents looks likely to hold the upper hand on the merged firm’s board – it will have three representatives to Masons’ two.
It is understood that growing Manchester will be a strategic priority for the merged firm. The firms’ combined revenues in Manchester will be £15m and plans are already underway to move the two offices into the same building as soon as possible.