Legal Business Blogs

Heading to the polls: Charles Russell and Speechly partners to vote today on £126m merger

Speechly Bircham is getting closer to closing its sought-after merger, as its partners and those at Charles Russell are voting today (16 July) on a union that would elevate the combined firm into the top 30 of the LB100.

Having confirmed the talks in mid-February, a statement is expected later today on the outcome of the vote. The firms are required to have a 75% majority vote in order for the merger to receive approval. If the deal is approved, it will create revenues of £126m and a total lawyer headcount of 531.

The firms have already published a certificate of incorporation for a new entity Charles Russell Speechlys LLP on Companies House on 21 February.

In financial terms, both posted broadly comparable results for the 2012/13 financial year, with top-60 firm Speechlys showing flat revenue in its limited liability partnership results in February, down 0.9% to £57m from £57.6m for the 2012/13 financial year. It also saw a 9% pre-tax profit slide to £18.4m from £20.1m. Profit per equity partner (PEP) dipped 1% to £297,000 while profit per lawyer (PPL) was up 13% to £52,000.

Top-50 firm Charles Russell, however, has announced its revenues for the 2013/14 financial year, showing a 7% rise in turnover to £73.4m. Although unannounced as yet, the firm expects profit per equity partner (PEP) to increase to around £350,000, constituting a 10% rise on 2012/13.

Speechlys has previously been in the market for a partner, but called off its high-profile merger talks with private client firm Withers last May after suggestions that both firms failed to garner support from the partnerships. That union would have created a 600-lawyer practice with a combined £170m turnover and elevated it into the top 25 of the LB100.