Cobbetts and DWF confirm merger talks

Management at Manchester’s Cobbetts and North West firm DWF have officially confirmed that they are in merger discussions, although they stopped short of giving any further details.

Andrew Leaitherland
Andrew Leaitherland

As revealed by The Lawyer earlier this month the two firms are understood to be close to finalising a merger that could go ahead as early as May (9 January 2012).

At that time DWF managing partner Andrew Leaitherland declined to comment while Cobbetts managing partner Michael Shaw, who is not expected to remain at a merged firm, was not available for comment.

Today, Leaitherland released a statement that read: “DWF is one of the fastest growing law firms in the UK; we’ve achieved double digit growth year-on-year for the past 18 years and top 30 status is well within our reach.

“Lateral hires and strategic mergers are a key part of our growth strategy and it’s entirely consistent with this strategy that we should be in talks with any number of different parties to discuss the potential for a mutually beneficial strategic partnership.

“I can confirm that preliminary discussions with Cobbetts have taken place, but until any such discussions are brought to a conclusion we will not be in a position to talk about them publicly.”

In a similar statement, Cobbetts senior partner Stephen Benson said: “Cobbetts is a leading law firm with a national and international practice. We continually seek to develop our business in a dynamic market,  through strategic alliances and lateral hires as well as seeking partnership opportunities which would provide benefits to our clients and the business as a whole.

“As a matter of policy, we don’t comment on any such developments until a conclusion is reached.

“I can confirm that we’re in early discussions with DWF, but with respect to all parties involved, we will not make any public comment unless they reach a conclusion.”

For an analysis of the benefits of the potential merger, click here.