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MAB set to close as corporate and property teams move to Veale Wasbrough Vizards

Having endured an exodus of partners in recent weeks, Matthew Arnold & Baldwin (MAB) has confirmed it is to close its doors as its remaining 30 lawyers will join Veale Wasbrough Vizards (VWV).

In a deal expected to be completed at the end of the month, the team made up of corporate, commercial property, IP/IT and employment practices, will continue to be based in Watford and will operate under the VWV brand. Declining to confirm the exact location, VWV is expected to sign a new lease for 6,000 sq ft premises in Watford.

It follows news earlier today that Hill Dickinson had acquired MAB’s commercial and wealth management practices including equity partners Iain Donaldson and Mark Weston, while Dentons announced last Thursday (7 January) that it had recruited a 75-strong banking and finance team, including 11 partners and 64 fee earners, in a move led by partners Steven Mills and Clare Stothard. The banking team counts Barclays as a long-time client, and also acts for Santander UK, Capital and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

VWV managing partner Simon Heald (pictured) told Legal Business the firm had been in talks with other firms on a ‘constant basis’ and will ‘continue to have formal and informal conversations as we look for growth’, citing the potential for further tie-ups in Bristol, Birmingham and central London.

‘We will always talk to people we think we can do business with,’ he adds.

The firm’s deed requires a 75% vote from the partnership but the decision was ‘unanimous in the end’.

When asked about whether the mass team move to Dentons evoked concern at VWV, Heald says: ‘I can understand Dentons strategy entirely – MAB had a great reputation for banking work. But that move has little impact on the people signed up to focusing on clients in Watford.’

MAB head of corporate Richard Phillips said: ‘We have for some time been exploring opportunities which we believe will enhance our business and the ways in which we operate. We are very pleased to be joining forces with VWV who will bring additional strength and experience to complement our existing team and enhance our offering to local business and the wider community.’