North West firm Ricksons is poised to dispose of its claimant insurance arm Axis Solicitors, as part of the firm’s strategic shift towards corporate and commercial work.
Colemans CTTS, which is one of the largest claimant firms in the UK, is negotiating with Ricksons to take on the Birmingham office, which handles solely claimant work for the RAC.
Around 30 legal staff, including five solicitors, will be affected by the as-yet unsigned deal, which was announced to Axis staff last Friday (27 February).
Ricksons managing partner Anthony Hughes vowed that staff would be protected. “I wouldn’t let this go past first base if there were going to be any redundancies,” he said.
The lease on Axis’s Birmingham premises is due to expire in April. It is not yet known whether staff will then relocate to Coleman’s Walsall office.
Hughes said the claimant insurance practice of Axis Solicitors was incompatible with Ricksons’ business strategy and insurance clientele, which include Norwich Union, QBE and Fortis. “We’ve underplayed Birmingham to an extent because of our insurance clients, hence the different brand,” he said.
“Our headline ambition is to appear in The Lawyer 100,” said Hughes. “We’ll be able to reinvest the money we get from Birmingham into our core areas of practice in our three North West offices – Preston, Manchester and Leeds.”
Colemans managing partner Roger Coleman said that the move “represents a good opportunity to strengthen our Walsall office and cement our relationship with the RAC”.