Bircham Dyson Bell and Pitmans are in merger talks.
If approved by partners in a vote due on 27 September, the merger will result in a 400 staff firm with 80 partners. The new firm would catapult into the top 50 law firms for revenue in the UK with a combined figure of over £50m.
Both firms have expanded in recent years, as Pitmans took over Calvert Solicitors in 2015 while the beleaguered KWM offloaded its Cambridge-based Real Estate team to BDB last year. Pitmans is the smaller firm and posted £18.8m in revenues in 2017/18 to BDB's £33.7m.
In the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year Survey 2018, BDB staff praised the firm for its work/life balance. One lawyer noted that while "pay is lower than you can get elsewhere", this was a happy trade-off for time-recording targets being lower than at other firms. Another lawyer embraced their modus operandi saying that they would leave "if the culture changed so I was required to work outside my agreed hours".
The firms confirmed in a joint-statement that they are exploring the possible merger in order to look for "better ways to deliver services to clients and provide the best working environment for staff".
John Hutchinson, managing partner of Pitmans told RollOnFriday "this is potentially a genuine merger of two plus two equals five benefiting clients and staff. The synergies of the Cambridge and Thames Valley tech sectors is also a real draw. As you know we will continue to consult and progress discussions to ensure we get the best outcome for all concerned".