Andrew Darke, formerly an equity partner with Irwin Mitchell, has joined Simpson Millar as director of partner distribution.

After 25 years with Irwin Mitchell, Andrew will focus on developing Simpson Millar’s portfolio of partner distributors across a broad range of sectors, including banking, insurance, retail, trade union, utilities, employee assistance programs and chambers of commerce.

He will also be responsible for developing closer relationships with the charities and support groups the firm already has links with.

‘I have watched Simpson Millar diversify its range of services in recent years, and the investment by Fairpoint was a hugely positive indication that this is a firm gearing up for the future.

‘The will to evolve is backed by sound financial investment; a very attractive combination. The directors at Simpson Millar are agile in their decision-making and flexible in their approach to business partners. It is this ‘light on our feet’ approach that really appeals.’

Simpson Millar’s managing director, Peter Watson, said Andrew’s appointment is a ‘gear change’ for the firm.

He said: ‘The fact that someone of Andrew’s calibre is joining Simpson Millar is testament to the strong foundation we have laid. We continue to build momentum; growing the business and diversifying our range of services.’

Andrew will be working closely with the firm’s divisional directors to ensure his efforts chime with their strategic plans.

Andrew said: ‘My job is to add value to existing relationships, and to bring on board new affinity partners. There is a huge opportunity for recognised brands to add value to their customers by offering white label consumer legal services.’