A business with designs on buying dozens of law firms has made another acquisition. Metamorph Law has recruited a team of 23 lawyers and support staff from the private client section of southern England firm Bernard Chill & Axtell.

The acquired business, with offices in Southampton, Lymington and Basingstoke, will trade under the Linder Myers brand owned by Metamorph Law.

It is unclear whether Bernard Chill & Axtell will continue to operate or what is happening to the firm’s offices in Eastleigh, Aldershot and Portsmouth. Metamorph said only that the firm has ‘exited the private client market’.

The Gazette understands efforts have been under way to sell the business, which was founded 70 years ago, for a number of months.

Bernard Chill & Axtell had itself been keen on expansion in the last three years: in 2014 it completed four mergers in the space of three months, with managing partner Paul Grant saying headcount had grown from 11 to 54 in the period.

It was also reported in November 2016 that Grant’s other company No 17 Marketing had bought the Hampshire property business Penyards, rebranding it as Domum. It was reported that Penyards’ advertising stated the company was in partnership with Bernard Chill & Axtell.

Metamorph Law says its acquisition – for an undisclosed amount – creates its first venture in the south of England and brings on board residential conveyancing, family and trusts and estates sectors.

Chief executive Simon Goldhill said: ‘We are delighted to have expanded our geographic base into this part of the country.

‘The staff we have recruited have an ethos and culture of providing excellent service to their local clients and community, fully in line with Metamorph Law’s vision. We aim to now build on this starting position and grow these private client services.’

Metamorph this month bought Shropshire-based SLC Solicitors to add to its previous acquisition of north-west firm Linder Myers.