North-west firm Barnetts Solicitors has today appointed administrators and immediately completed the sale of its business to four buyers.

Senior partner Richard Barnett confirmed that the move would save all 130 jobs at the Southport-based practice and ensure the retention of thousands of existing clients.

Leonard Curtis has been appointed as administrator and has already concluded the sale of four sections of the business.

The conveyancing business was sold to DC Law, the personal injury and litigation sector to SGI legal, the care home division to Simpson Millar and the interest rate swap section to Seneca Banking Consultants.

Barnett, a Law Society Council member, said the move was a ‘fantastic opportunity for the firm to be able to move forward to the next level'.

‘The structure of the business had disparate parts, and it was therefore unlikely that we could ever have achieved one buyer for the whole,’ he said.

‘It has meant therefore that the reconstruction of the business was the only way to satisfy everyone.’

Barnett said the 3,000 clients currently with the firm will be unaffected by the sales.

Joint administrator Julien Irving added: ‘The legal sector has and continues to face significant pressure that requires legal practices to reassess their business in this challenging environment.’

This is the second acquisition by SGI Legal in six months and follows its high-profile purchase in August last year of Midlands firm Challinors' work in progress.

The firm says it expects to make further acquisitions over the next six months as the full force of last year’s personal injury reforms start to bite.

Managing partner Simon Gibson (pictured) said: ‘We’ve made no secret of our growth ambitions and have structured our firm to take advantage of developments in the personal injury sector. We will continue to provide positive solutions for those wishing to exit the personal injury sector whilst maximising the opportunities for SGI.’