Irwin Mitchell acquires leading family law boutique

UK firm absorbs North East-based Silk Family Law just a few weeks after snapping up 95-strong Scottish firm

Ros Bever Image courtesy of Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell (IM) is set to significantly expand its family law offering in North East England with the acquisition of a boutique with operations in Newcastle, Leeds and Richmond in North Yorkshire. 

IM will acquire Silk Family Law subject to approval from the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The boutique houses three partners including barrister Ian Kennerley within a wider team of 22 professionals and represents clients in all aspects of matrimonial and family law cases, including financial and children matters. It is ranked band 1 in the North East by The Legal 500, which describes it as a firm “with a national reputation”. 

IM said the acquisition would bolster its national family law practice, which is one of the largest in the UK and regularly brings complex financial separation cases to the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.

Ros Bever, director of legal services, family at Irwin Mitchell, commented: “This strategic investment will expand our expertise and reach in the North East of England, and I’m excited about our combined future. Our family law specialists work on ground-breaking cases and we’re delighted to be welcoming the Silk Family Law team to Irwin Mitchell.”

The Silk Family Law deal follows news earlier this month that IM had acquired Scottish law firm Wright Johnston and Mackenzie, a move that saw it add 95 professionals covering corporate, private client, property and asset management matters north of the border. The firm has also recently appointed former BBC news presenter Joanna Gosling as a mediator in the family law team.

Kennerley, managing partner at Silk Family Law, said: “We’re delighted to be joining Irwin Mitchell and remain committed to providing the same specialist advice and representation for our clients. 

“We share the same values for client service and look forward to benefiting from the additional resources and support that will be available to our clients on a national and international basis.”

In the past financial year IM has also agreed deals to acquire asset management firms TWP Wealth and Andrews Gwynne, opened new offices in Cardiff and Liverpool and recruited 18 new partners.

In August, IM posted a group revenue increase of 1.8% to £271m for its 22/23 financial year. Group profit before tax (PBT) was down 29% to £15m, which the firm put down to “planned investments in our IT infrastructure and data capabilities, marketing spend and transaction-related professional fees to help position the business for long-term growth, as well as the impact of higher operational costs and one-off costs related to the strategic early exit from our Gatwick office lease”.

Silk Family Law was advised by Carlisle-based accountancy firm Armstrong Watson and Worcester-based law firm Harrison Clark Rickerbys. Irwin Mitchell was advised by its in-house corporate partner Dan Bastide and London accountants Menzies.

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