Shakespeares targets ‘leading Midlands firm’ tag with Berryman merger

Shakespeare Putsman has merged with Nottingham-based Berryman, creating a £30m firm with 440 lawyers and staff across the East and West Midlands.

Paul Wilson
Paul Wilson

The merger was agreed by both firms yesterday and is set to complete on 1 November.

The deal follows last month’s merger of Shakespeare Putsman and Stratford-based Needham & James, which formed one of the largest practices in the West Midlands (8 June 2010).

Shakespeare Putsman chief executive Paul Wilson said the firm had decided to do another tie-up because the economic climate and the Legal Services Act in particular had made the legal marketplace increasingly complex and competitive.

“By merging, the two firms cement their position in the Midlands legal market place,” added Wilson. “As an ambitious, growing firm this merger will take us a step closer to establishing a leading Midlands legal firm. The merger also creates the platform for major investment in our people, infrastructure and branding.”

Berryman is the biggest single-site firm in Nottingham with 17 partners, six of whom are in the equity. Last year the firm fell slightly short of its 2009-10 turnover target of £6.6m but still managed a 1.5 per cent rise to £6.2m.  

The firm used to be heavily reliant on its criminal practice, but refocused on commercial in 2007 when James Jarvis became managing partner.

In 2010, Jarvis undertook another transformation, reorganising the firm into sector-specific teams, breaking the work down into four key areas: life sciences, healthcare, TMT and rural economy.

Richard Brackenbury, chairman of Berryman, confirmed that in the short term his firm will continue to trade in Nottingham under the Berryman name.

“For all our clients, especially those based locally to us in Nottingham, the merger is in many ways particularly good news, as they’ll continue to benefit from an excellent legal team on their doorstep, and one that now has even more resource at its disposal,” added Brackenbury.