Law firm DWF, which has a strong presence in Birmingham, has signed terms to merge with niche insurance practice Watmores.
Expected to complete in May, DWF says the merger will help deliver growth, strengthening its insurance, rail and local authority sector capabilities.
The firm also hopes the merger will see it become one of the UK’s largest law firms for local authority work.
DWF has expanded from a two-office North West firm in 2006 into one of the UK’s top 20 legal businesses. It now employs more than 2,500 people operating across 13 locations in the UK, Ireland and Dubai.
Watmores says it expects to benefit from DWF’s “deep and broad insurance and commercial offerings”, as well as “its scale and infrastructure”.
Led by partners Simon Johnson and Ron Mullins, Watmores is a £2.5 million turnover company delivering dispute resolution and litigation insurance services to its insurer client base, which includes many of the UK’s major insurers, as well as several local authorities and rail operators.
Based on Chancery Lane in London, the firm employs 26 people including five partners and directors, all of whom will move into DWF’s London office in the Walkie Talkie building.
DWF is already recognised as one of the top three law firms in the UK for insurance work with an almost 1,000-strong team advising insurers across the full breadth of insurance law matters, ranging from large and complex insurance cases around the world to high-volume defendant work. The firm is also an established panel firm for many of the UK’s top insurers.
DWF’s managing partner & CEO, Andrew Leaitherland, said: “Watmores has first-rate niche expertise which complements, and will add depth to, our own enabling us to deliver enhanced service to our existing clients and also to grow our client base of insurers, local authorities and rail operators.”
Caroline Coates, executive partner for DWF’s Birmingham office, said: “This is fantastic news for the business. DWF has a strong presence in the insurance market and today’s merger will further enhance our national practice, whilst strengthening our sector expertise across the business.”
Simon Johnson from Watmores added: “Combining forces with DWF will enable us to capitalise on the firm’s infrastructure, tech capability and reach to strengthen our shared focus and capability in key industry sectors for the benefit of our clients, a significant number of whom we have in common.”