Firm finds Guildford connection

Charles Russell is to more than triple the size of its Guildford office by merging with seven partner corporate and property outfit Baldocks.

In a deal which both sides are describing as a merger, Charles Russell's Guildford office and Baldocks will come together on 1 September, as Charles Russell Baldocks – although Baldocks may later be dropped from the name.

The merged office will be managed by Baldocks' existing managing partner Will Smythe, but senior partner David Baldock will step down from the partnership and work on a consultancy basis.

Three Baldocks' partners will become equity partners and three, including Smythe, will become salaried partners.

Smythe said Baldocks had wanted to merge for two years in order to expand and had had talks with two other Guildford firms before beginning merger meetings with Charles Russell at the start of the year. He said the merger gave Baldocks the opportunity to improve its profile and the career plan for many of its younger solicitors.

Charles Russell partner at the Guildford office, Rory Fordyce, said Charles Russell wanted to expand in Surrey as it was “thick with business parks and very rich in commercial clients, in oil companies and IT companies who have relocated from London.”

He said the firm had also considered targeting Guildford firm Stevens & Bolton, but never actually reached the stage of merger talks.

He said offices on the outskirts of Guildford had been selected, but not confirmed, as a new home for the merged office.

In the meantime all corporate and commercial staff will move to Charles Russell's premises and all private client and litigation staff will move to Baldocks' offices.