Legal Business Blogs

Slater & Gordon takes over Manchester PI firm as Pannone vote looms

ASX-listed firm Slater & Gordon (S&G) continues to make inroads into the UK’s personal injury (PI) market having confirmed today (24 October) it has acquired Manchester-based clinical negligence and PI practice John Pickering & Partners.

S&G, which generates an annual revenue of £27.7m, made the announcement at its annual general meeting in Australia yesterday, but made no mention of recent reports that it is in talks to acquire Manchester-based Pannone’s consumer services business.

Acknowledged by the Legal 500 as ‘highly respected for its representation of trade union members in industrial disease claims’ the acquisition of John Pickering, a leading chest and asbestos disease law firm, has been ‘substantially completed’ according to S&G.

The Northern firm currently has offices in Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield and Halifax and annual revenue of £3m. S&G’s UK chief executive Neil Kinsella said the acquisition would see its operations in the UK grow by approximately 27 staff.

This latest move will further consolidate the acquisitive Australian firm’s position in the personal injury sector, particularly in the Manchester region. Other recent acquisitions including Manchester personal injury firm Fentons in August, adding around 280 staff to the rapidly growing firm, as well as Russell, Jones & Walker for £53.8m last year, Goodmans Law and the personal injury practice of Taylor Vinters.

Kinsella (pictured) said: ‘We believe John Pickering and Partners is an ideal partner to advance our plans for strategic growth and to boost our presence in the UK. Both firms are focused on delivering high quality, affordable legal services to everyday people and this is an exciting time for Slater & Gordon as we move towards being able to bring our legal services and expertise to more people.

‘The expansion of our personal injury team will see the addition of a team with an excellent reputation as experienced defenders of the rights of asbestos disease sufferers for compensation. Together we have more than 30 years of experience helping the victims of asbestos related diseases and with more people being expected to be diagnosed than ever before over the next few years, we will be in the best possible position to help the victims of this terrible disease and their families.

‘The planned acquisition will help cement S&G’s ambition to be one of the UK’s leading consumer law firms and it is a big part of a continued growth strategy.’

John Pickering and Partners managing partner Paul Glanville, added: ‘Our organisations have much in common, both having forged reputations in fighting for justice for asbestos victims. At a time when Government reforms and the insurance industry are putting greater pressure on asbestos disease victims, we feel that by combining our strengths, we will be able to ensure that we offer the best representation for our clients.’

The transaction is expected to be completed on 27 November.

As for Pannone, some of the partnership is understood to be still wrangling over what parts of the firm are to transfer to S&G, including discussions over whether its white label service Affinity and Connect2Law network will fit with S&G’s model.

A meeting between Pannone’s equity partners is expected today or tomorrow (25 October) as the firm had hoped to come to a decision by October 31st.