Hill Dickinson joins with Wayman-Hales

Insurance giant Hill Dickinson Davis Campbell is merging with Chester & North Wales law firm Wayman-Hales.

According to Hill Dickinson, the two main aims of the merger were to capture Wayman-Hales' senior litigation partner Simon Parrington and to expand into Chester and North Wales.

All six partners of Wayman-Hales will join Hill Dickinson's existing 42 partners as partners.

Mike McKenna, a partner at Hill Dickinson, said his firm saw potential in Chester, not just in insurance, but in property, commercial and healthcare. Parrington claimed Wayman-Hales wanted to expand its commercial and property portfolio.

This is the second recent merger by Liverpool and Chester firms, following on from Mace & Jones joining forces with Grundy Kershaw last year. It reflects the growing importance of Chester as a centre for property and commercial business, and also as the gateway to North Wales.

Unusually, the move appears to be a true merger rather than the takeover of a small firm by a larger one. Parrington is wanted because of his reputation as an insurance litigator, and to fill a perceived gap in the partnership structure of Hill Dickinson.

He was on the fast-track working party of Lord Woolf's committee, and is a member of the Law Society's civil litigation committee. It is generally acknowledged that litigation on the Chester & North Circuit is very different from that in Lancashire, as is commercial work.

Wayman-Hales also has a good reputation in property work, acting for a combination of banks, companies and large private clients.

Access to Hill Dickinson's specialists in fields such as construction and the environment will boost this image, as well as bringing in opportunities in new sectors like healthcare.