Blake Morgan continues expansion with Piper Smith Watton merger

Blake Morgan is merging with London-based firm Piper Smith Watton, nearly a year after the merger of Blake Lapthorn with Morgan Cole. 

The merger takes effect on 1 August and will increase Blake Morgan’s number of partners by 12 to 130. It is also set to boost the firm’s annual turnover from £72m to £78m.

Blake Morgan managing partner Walter Cha said Piper Smith Watton would add to the firm’s entrepreneurial private client practice, with a focus on commercial real estate and high end residential property.

“When we look at opportunities, we have to ask how can we support our offering to core clients. The work of Piper Smith Watton mirrors the kind of work we do, with a focus on the construction, retail and leisure industries,” Cha told The Lawyer.

The merger announcement comes as Blake Morgan hires five new partners across key practice areas.

Real estate specialists Daniel Kidd, formerly a partner Dentons, and Shoosmiths partner Chris Dolan have been recruited alongside Lamb Building barrister Allan Briddock, who will head the firm’s immigration team.

Mills & Reeve partner Gayle Curry will become a partner in the firm’s health team, while Clare Strickland joins the professional regulatory team, after serving as assistant director for legal services at the National Midwifery Council.

Oliver Emanuel also joins as a legal director in the development and construction team from DAC Beachcroft, where he was a partner, while construction specialist Rachel Gwilliam has been promoted to partner after 14 years at the firm.

Blake Lapthorn merged with Morgan Cole last summer (20 March 2014).