Blakemores – one of Birmingham’s best-known law firms – has closed after more than 50 years with the feared loss of up to 200 jobs following a major cash crisis.
The firm, which was founded in 1961, has been handed over to the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the majority of staff at its offices in Great Charles Street and Leamington Spa sent home.
Blakemores launched one of the UK’s first ‘direct consumer marketing brands’ called Lawyers2You.
The firm invested £5 million in the concept, creating a call centre at its Birmingham headquarters and setting up a string of outlets at shopping centres, airports, sporting events and festivals in the West Midlands.
A statement from the Solicitors Regulation Authority said: “The SRA has intervened into the practice of Guy Barnett, Matthew Montanaro, James Paul Howard, Constantina Nicolaou, Mellonie Elaine Ward, Joanne Warren and Kellie Angie Maguire at Blakemores Solicitors.
"Their practising certificates have not been suspended.
“An intervention means the SRA has closed a firm with immediate effect.
“We will stop the firm from operating, take possession of all documents and papers held by the firm (including clients’ papers), and take possession of all money held by the firm.”
• Elsewhere in the West Midlands legal sector, another law firm with around 50 staff, James Pearce and Co, with offices in Great Barr, Ward End and Walmley, has also closed its doors.