Addleshaw Goddard has negotiated a merger deal with Scottish firm Maclay Murray & Spens, dependent on a partnership vote, The Lawyer understands.
The deal was discussed over the summer by management and it is understood that practice heads from each firm have met during the process.
An Addleshaw Goddard spokesperson said: “We’ve consistently said that a merger at some point in the future is a possibility we’d consider. It’s an option we keep under regular review, but there’s nothing to report.”
A spokesperson at Maclays declined to comment on the merger but said that the firm “keeps in touch with other firms on an ongoing basis and sometimes such discussions encompass the possibility of collaboration of some kind”.
The merger is set to go live on 1 May 2016 and coincides with the end of Monica Burch’s second term as Addleshaws’ senior partner. Burch is set to step down from the position having previously stated that she would only hold the position for two terms.
Burch told The Lawyer in a statement: “I stood in 2010 and again in 2013 on the basis that I would only stand for two terms of office. This is because I believed that a healthy business needs to ensure that no one person becomes embedded in any of our leadership roles for too long a period of time.”
The board was informed of Burch’s intention to step down in September in order to give the firm time to allow for an “orderly succession plan to be implemented”.
As a result of the end of Burch’s tenure as senior partner a consultation with the firm’s partnership is currently underway as to what duties and responsibilities should be carried out by her sucessor. A source suggested this could see Addleshaws appoint an external candidate for the position.
On top of this Addleshaws is also understood to be reviewing its partnership deed in an attempt to modernise its articles. The firm’s partners have been consulted during the process, which is aimed at updating the deed where it seems to be “inappropriate in the modern world”.
Currently Addleshaws has no offices in Scotland but the merger would give them a base in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Maclays is currently one of the largest independent firms in Scotland after legacy firms McGrigors and Dundas & Wilson merged with Pinsent Masons and CMS Cameron McKenna respectively.
Should the two firms merge the new firm would have a turnover of £236m, according to data in The Lawyer UK 200: The Top 100. Addleshaws saw turnover soar 12 per cent last year, from £171.4m to £192.5m. However, Maclays’ revenue remained fairly static and increased by only £200,000 to £43.5m.
Despite Maclays’ stagnant turnover net profit rose by 7 per cent last year, from £12.2m to £13m. The firm’s average profit per equity partner (PEP) stands at £283,000.
In comparison Addleshaws’ PEP stands at £491,000 and its top of equity recently increased to £936,000.