Midlands firm Nelsons Solicitors has acquired Derby-based Moody and Woolley as part of ongoing plans to grow through mergers and acquisitions.  

The acquisition follows six months of talks between the two, and comes as Nelsons makes plans to expand across the East Midlands.

Moody and Woolley employs 32 staff, and the majority of fee-earners will stay on to join Nelsons.

Nelsons, which has offices in Derby, Leicester and Nottingham, has a headcount of more than 200, including 48 people in based in Derby.

Moody and Woolley’s senior partner Julie Marson (pictured, right) and equity partner Ian Griffiths (pictured, left) will retire from the business, although Marson will stay on for another six months.

A redundancy consultation process is under way for support staff, a spokesman said. 

'Both practices have a broad base of commercial and private clients, a similar ethos and strong reputation among the East Midlands business community,' Tim Hastings (pictured, centre), Nelsons chief executive, said. 

'Moody and Woolley is a Derby firm which has a long history and a great reputation. It is an owner-managed firm with a broad client base and we felt it was just the right practice for us to join forces with,' he added.

Initially staff at Moody and Woolley will remain in their current offices under the Nelsons brand. 

Meanwhile, the merger of Abbey Legal Services and Manchester-based Lewis Hymanson Small, to form a new £12m firm called LHS Solicitors, has been confirmed.

Abbey Legal, a subsidiary of the Abbey Protection Group, which is owned by listed US insurance giant Markel Corporation, offers legal expenses insurance. Lewis Hymanson Small was acquired in 2012 by Abbey Legal and has been recognised for its expertise in regulatory and criminal law.

The LHS brand will focus on regulatory and criminal, telephone legal advice, business legal services and corporate work.

Managing director Richard Candy said: 'Sharing our expertise across one recognisable brand focuses our sales and marketing plan and delivers a more seamless and consistent client service.

'We're ambitious but confident in our vision to triple the fee income in the practice within five years.'