Knights, the listed legal and professional services business, has agreed to acquire Baines Wilson an independent law firm based in Carlisle and Lancaster.
Founded in 1999, Baines Wilson serves the Cumbrian and North Lancashire markets and has grown into one of the leading commercial law firms in the North West of England. The firm has a strong corporate and real estate offering, alongside dispute resolution and employment practices. The acquisition adds 24 fee earners to Knights’ existing 1,400 professionals across the UK, and facilitates its entry into the Cumbrian and North Lancashire markets. The acquisition complements Knights’ existing northern offices in and around Manchester, Chester, Leeds, York and Teesside and enhances its presence in the North West region, giving the Group a strong base to build a significant operation for expansion throughout the North of England.
“It not only provides us with an entry point into Cumbria and Carlisle specifically, explains Lisa Shacklock, Knights’ Client Services Director, “but it gives us a platform from which to pursue further expansion in both Carlisle and Lancaster through recruitment. This deal is a first step for us into both cities and we are focussed on recruiting high quality talent to enable us to build significant scale and expand across the region. With very significant external investment and financial firepower, together with our strong business model and unique one-team culture, Knights is an attractive alternative for law firm partners who wish to further their careers without the financial burden of the partnership model”.
Baines Wilson is Knights’ 22nd acquisition, and its 20th since its IPO in 2018. In that time, Knights has grown revenues from £35m to £125m and become the UK’s largest commercial legal services business outside London. The addition of Carlisle and Lancaster takes Knights to 25 locations across the UK.
“We are delighted to be entering new markets as we cement our position as the leading legal and professional service business outside London. We welcome our new colleagues and look forward to working with them to strengthen our foothold throughout the North of England” said James Sheridan, Knights’ Group M&A Director.
Sean Logue, Managing Partner, Baines Wilson commented:
“Having grown to become one of the leading firms in the North of England, we are thrilled to be joining Knights, a firm which champions client service and shares our vision. As part of a larger group, offering a wider range of services and scale, we are confident that we will be able to accelerate our growth in Carlisle and the surrounding region.”