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New partners: David Rose of Hood Vores & Allwood, left, i Kevin Oelrichs of GHP Solicitors, middle, and right, Alisdair Liddle of Overburys, the three law firms are mergering to create a new entity Spire Solicitors
By Shaun Lowthorpe, Business editor
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Norfolk’s legal landscape is set for a shake-up following a merger deal between three well-known firms.
Greenland Houchen Pomeroy (GHP Solicitors), Hood Vores & Allwood (HVA) and Overbury Steward & Eaton (Overburys) are joining forces in a deal to create the new entity –Spire Solicitors – a name chosen in a nod to Norfolk’s cathedral heritage.
The deal comes amid a tougher climate for the legal sector with de-regulation bringing increased competition from rivals including the Co-op and Tesco, and government cutbacks to Legal Aid funding and the three long-established firms said the move was their response to the changes.
The new firm will have its head office on Prince of Wales Road in Norwich and seven market town offices in Attleborough, Aylsham, Dereham, Diss, Long Stratton, Watton and Wymondham bringing together 140 staff.
Mr Liddle said: “The partners of Spire Solicitors LLP recognise that the legal services market has changed significantly over the past few years and that more challenges lie ahead. This merger is our response. It will equip us to meet those challenges and to provide our clients with the legal services they require, in the way they want them delivered and at a fair cost. However the personal service which each firm now provides to its clients will continue to be at the very foundation of our thinking.”
Spire Solicitors LLP will also register as an Alternative Business Structure to allow external investment.
James Knight, who is practice manager for GHP, will also become a member of the new firm.
Mr Knight said: “A lot of law firms are taking the decision to expand and gain size to be able to better deliver services going forward. It’s a response to the climate and trends in the legal sector. These are three well-establised Norfolk firms taking a step ahead of their competitors.”
Mr Oelrichs said the merger was made the easier because it soon became apparent the three shared a similar vision of the need for a modern legal firm offering clients a service suited to both the traditions of the region and the demands of the future. Jeremy Whigham, HVA’s chairman, will retire as a partner when the merger takes place and become a consultant with the merged firm.
A Norfolk fruit grower has finally found an outlet for some of this year’s vast surplus of pears – and is now looking ahead to plans to secure the firm’s future viability.