Simpson & Marwick merges with Kennedys

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Specialist litigation outfit Simpson & Marwick is merging with international law firm Kennedys in a deal that will create a cross-Border player bringing in £160 million in fees.

The Edinburgh-based firm, which was founded in 1886, will initially be known as “Kennedys Simpson & Marwick” following the deal, although its name will be retained “indefinitely” for its residential property arm.

Peter Anderson, managing partner of Simpson & Marwick, told The Scotsman that no jobs will be lost as a results of the deal.

“There’s no question of job losses or redundancy because this is a merger of two very strong law firms,” he said.

“Although the recession has been tough for everybody, we’ve been growing quietly under the radar, and Kennedys likewise.

“We need all the people we’ve got and there are no savings to be achieved.”

Simpson & Marwick has about 300 staff, including 45 partners north of the Border and four members of a limited liability partnership in Newcastle.

It specialises in employment law and insurance from sites in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow, along with property offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and North Berwick.

Kennedys is around four-times larger, with 1,200 staff including 177 partners, and offices in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

Accounts filed at Companies House showed Kennedys turned over £105m in 2012 and returned a profit of about £30m.

Anderson, who will become head of Kennedys’ UK and Ireland business outside London and will take a seat on its board, said: “Discussions began about a year ago and we reached the decision on Thursday.”

The deal is the latest in a string of mergers that has seen Pinsent Masons swallow McGrigors, DWF grab Biggart Baillie and DAC Beachcroft snatch Andersons Solicitors.