Consolidation continues as Jackson reforms take hold of claimant sector

The personal injury (PI) legal market is consolidating rapidly with three new mergers being announced yesterday.

In Cheshire, Slater Heelis has has acquired two-partner personal injury firm Tarran & Co; in Bromley, Solex Legal Services is planning a tie up with MTA Solicitors and, in the north-west, Anthony Hodari’s latest acquisition is Tandem Law.

It comes just days after insurance giant Parabis announced its planned acquisition with Greenwoods (7 May 2013) and Slater & Gordon revealed plans to takeover Simpson Millar, Goodmans Law and the personal injury practice of Taylor Vinters (7 May 2013).

Slater Heelis said both partners from Tarran & Co, Simon Adamson and Stephen Farnworth, would join the firm as fixed fee members.

Equity partner Chris Bishop said in statement: “We are continuing to grow and strengthen all our practice areas and this acquisition came just at the right time for us.”

MTA Solicitors, meanwhile, has focused on personal injury work since it launched in 2001. The merger with property firm Solex Legal Services is intended to help the firm diversify its practice portfolio away from the personal injury market. Solex is home to 50 staff.

Managing partner David Green said the move was mutually beneficial. “Solex has an platform in the property market which enables MTA to enter into that market on a scale basis and also enhance our existing debt recovery service,” a statement read. “Solex will gain strength and financial stability from MTA, so that both businesses can expand and grow.”

Manchester based firm Anthony Hodari, meanwhile, has acquired litigation firm Tandem Law, which focuses on handling specialist claims.

Chief executive Mark Grover said while the firm remains committed to the PI sector it also had plans to diversify.

“While our commitment to personal injury remains undimmed, this acquisition continues our post-LASPO strategy of sensible diversification,” he said. “Tandem Law has a very healthy [work in progress] WIP with quality, interesting cases. It has fast established itself as the go-to firm for a range of specialist claims and we are confident that together we can continue to grow the practice.”

It is the latest in a run of acquisitions for Anthony Hodari. The firm acquired Preston-based Ashton Fox as part of a pre-pack deal at the end of last month and Liverpool personal injury firm Paul Rooney last year.

The drive to consolidate has been triggered by the implementation of the Jackson reforms, which has sought to help control costs in PI by removing recoverability for winning parties. Without being able to recover costs from the losing side profitability in these cases is falling prompting many claimant firms to look for new avenues of revenue (25 January 2010).