The Lawyer UK 200 Rank14

Pinsent Masons was born out of a merger between Birmingham firm Pinsent & Co and Leeds firm Simpson Curtis in 1995. A London presence came in 2001 via a merger with City boutique Biddle with the rescue of the Midlands part of collapsing firm Garretts a year later. The final piece of the jigsaw came in 2004, when Pinsents merged with Masons – a firm with a stellar reputation in the fields of construction, engineering, projects, energy and tech, with

Pinsent Masons was born out of a merger between Birmingham firm Pinsent & Co and Leeds firm Simpson Curtis in 1995. A London presence came in 2001 via a merger with City boutique Biddle with the rescue of the Midlands part of collapsing firm Garretts a year later.

The final piece of the jigsaw came in 2004, when Pinsents merged with Masons – a firm with a stellar reputation in the fields of construction, engineering, projects, energy and tech, with offices in London, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The early years were not entirely carefree: there were problems integrating the two legacy Manchester offices, a stream of partner departures included insurance dispute practice head James Crabtree (to Taylor Wessing) and Bristol commercial property group head Rosemary Pike (to Clarke Wilmott), and staff satisfaction was not all it could be; however, partner profits rocketed an unheard-of 70 per cent, from £234,000 to £400,000, in 2005/06.

Under managing partner David Ryan, the firm established itself first as a steady, successful if unspectacular national firm, then as something of an innovator, investing in tech with its SMART delivery method of dealing with routine work and starting a contract-lawyer business Vario.

A further merger with Scottish ‘Big Four’ firm McGrigors in 2012 added a significant presence north of the border.

Thanks to its history of bringing together various UK national and regional firms Pinsents’ international coverage has been patchy. It now has nine UK offices (one in the Falklands) and 15 in other countries. An alliance with Chinese firm Hesen lasted from 2011 to 2017 before eventually disintegrating. The firm launched in Sydney and Melbourne in 2015, with the team led by three former partners from Australian firm Maddocks.