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Trowers & Hamlins unites with Devon firm as part of regional push

Trowers & Hamlins has combined with Devon based Stones Solicitors to create a firm with turnover of about £85m, in a deal to boost its regional presence in the UK.

The firm, which will have almost 800 people, will continue to be known as Trowers & Hamlins, except in Exeter where the firm will be known as Trowers & Hamlins incorporating Stones Solicitors, for two years after the deal.

Stone Solicitors has an annual turnover of about £5m and a practice which covers litigation, private wealth, real estate, company commercial, and employment.

Trowers & Hamlins has been growing its regional presence in recent years, launching a new Birmingham office in 2011, taking on more space in Exeter in 2014 and expanding its Manchester office earlier this year. Together the firm’s regional offices have more than 90 fee earners, including 21 partners.

Jennie Gubbins, Trowers & Hamlins’ senior partner, commented: ‘This merger will allow us to build on the successes of our existing Exeter offering. It positions us to grow our regional presence and reputation in the South West region and to build on our existing real estate offering there, in particular helping us to broaden out from our social housing and public sector heritage.’

Gubbins said for the first time the firm will be able to offer corporate and private wealth expertise from a regional base.

Adrian Richards, Stones’ chief executive officer added: ‘This is a very exciting development for both our firms and we are looking forward to taking advantage of the opportunities this merger will provide for our clients, as well as our lawyers and staff.’

Trowers & Hamlins employs 124 partners and over 700 staff with offices in London, Manchester, Exeter and Birmingham as well as four in the Middle East.

In July the firm posted revenues of £79.4m for the 2014/15 financial year – up on last year but still down 11% on a five year view. Net profit also improved, coming in 8% up at £19.5m – though this was slower than the growth in 2013/14 when net income shot up 15% from £15.8m to £18.1m.

The increase was down to an improving UK picture with fee income from its national offering of £64.7m, an increase of 5.5% from £61.3m the previous year. The firm’s international offices, mainly located in the Middle East, saw turnover drop 7.5% to £14.7m from £15.9m.