16 Jun 2021

Wedlake Bell merges with 170-year-old 11-partner City firm Moon Beever

Moon Beever specialises in insolvency and debt recovery work

Wedlake Bell managing partner Martin Arnold and Moon Beever managing partner Frances Coulson Images courtesy of Wedlake Bells

City of London law firm Wedlake Bell and has merged with 170-year-old London peer Moon Beever to bolster its private client and dispute resolution capabilities, with the new firm set to maintain the Wedlake Bell handle. 

Moon Beever – which has 11 partners and 56 fee earners based in its Gray’s Inn office – specialises in insolvency and debt recovery, as well as private client, utilities and real estate work. The merger, which comes into effect 12 July, will boost Wedlake Bell’s partner headcount to 71 and 217 lawyers in total. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, though a Wedlake Bell spokesperson described it as the “result of a strategic search, following which discussions took place over the course of last year.”

The firm's revenue for 2020/21 stood at £37.5m, while Moon Beever's was almost £7m, though it hasn't yet finalised its accounts. 

Martin Arnold, managing partner of Wedlake Bell, said: “The merged firm will enable us to enhance the offering to our clients in some of our core business areas – notably insolvency and restructuring, disputes, commercial property and private client. Clients will be able to access the full range of high-quality legal advice and services and the growth of our contentious practice, in particular, continues to future proof against a challenging and fast moving economic and operational environment.”

Arnold – a 33-year veteran of Wedlake Bell, having joined as a trainee in 1987 – has been a partner at the firm since 1996, becoming managing partner in 2012.

Frances Coulson, Moon Beever’s managing partner, said: “This is a very exciting opportunity, one which opens up enormous potential for growth at a time of unprecedented change. Wedlake Bell and Moon Beever are a strong cultural fit and this merger will allow both firms to enhance the strength and depth of the services that our clients require."

Coulson has been at Moon Beever for her entire career, joining in 1984. She is also currently deputy chair of the Fraud Advisory Panel, an independent organisation to help counter fraud in the UK, as well as deputy chair for regulatory conduct at the Insolvency Practitioners Association. 

Moon Beever was founded in 1851 by Victorian businessman and lawyer William Moon, originally focusing on private client and property matters for London’s literary and aristocratic classes before expanding its commercial work in the 1980s.

Earlier this year, City outfit Kerman & Co merged with US firm Armstrong Teasdale, making it the St. Louis-headquartered firm’s first international office. Kerman & Co’s City lawyers specialised in M&A, capital markets, sport and private client work.

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