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Slater & Gordon to acquire Pannone's consumer services

Acquisition to increase S&G’s UK headcount by 50 per cent  

28 November 2013

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By Manju Manglani, Editor (@ManjuManglani)

UK law firm Pannone has agreed to sell the majority of its practice groups to Slater & Gordon.

Pannone’s remaining practice areas – particularly its business legal services – will largely continue under a new independent firm, Pannone Corporate.

The transaction, which is expected to be completed in late February 2014, will result in Slater & Gordon’s staff numbers in the UK increasing by about 50 per cent to more than 1,200.

“The planned acquisition of Pannone is a vital step in our strategy for growth, bringing us closer to our aim of becoming the UK’s leading law practice for every day people,” said Slater & Gordon's UK head, Neil Kinsella.

“This acquisition will transform us into a significantly larger firm offering a broader range of legal services.”

Kinsella noted that the transaction will “significantly increase” the firm’s personal injury practice, while strengthening the range of its personal legal services.

“Bringing together our teams will give us leading positions in many fields, including family law in Manchester,” he added.

Upon completion of the due diligence and execution of the formal business sale agreements, Slater & Gordon will acquire a range of Pannone’s consumer practice groups. This includes personal injury and serious injury; clinical negligence; court of protection; family; wills, trusts and probate; property; and some elements of its employment and dispute resolution practice areas.

Commenting on the deal, Pannone’s managing partner, Emma Holt, said: “We are acknowledging the changing legal landscape which is rapidly evolving on the back of deregulation and legislative reforms and by combining our business with Slater & Gordon we will be a formidable force in the legal market.”

“This is an exciting time for Pannone and we see this as a significant opportunity that will be beneficial to our clients and our people.”

Pannone Corporate will be headed up by managing partner Paul Jonson, currently head of Pannone’s dispute resolution group, together with senior partner Steven Grant.

It will focus on corporate and commercial work for business clients. The teams transferring to the new firm include corporate finance, commercial, debt recovery, and some parts of the employment and dispute resolution groups.

Today’s announcement follows the completion of Slater & Gordon’s acquisition of Fentons, Goodmans Law and Taylor Vinters over the summer. Its plans to acquire Simpson Millar have been delayed until early next year.

Slater & Gordon also recently announced the acquisition of asbestos and mesothelioma specialist firm John Pickering & Partners, which is expected to be completed tomorrow.

In addition, Slater & Gordon’s acquisition of the personal injury book of Chadwick Lawrence will be completed on 2 December. The business, marketed as Yorkshire’s Injury Lawyers, was launched three years ago.

Chadwick Lawrence’s managing partner, Jeremy Garside, said: “The acquisition of the personal injury and clinical negligence business by Slater & Gordon allows Chadwick Lawrence to realise funds to invest in our growth strategy for new areas of the firm. This development is a significant step in the acceleration of our long term plans to make Chadwick Lawrence one of the north’s leading law firms.”

Founded in Australia, Slater & Gordon established its presence in the UK through the acquisition of Russell Jones & Walker for £53.8m after the national UK law firm obtained an alternative business licence in April 2012.

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