Two firms based in the north of England have outlined expansion plans after securing multi-million-pound finance deals.
Manchester firm Express Solicitors yesterday confirmed a £10m funding package from the Royal Bank of Scotland.
The personal injury firm made its first acquisition last year when it bought Manchester practice Lavin Copitch Solicitors with the help of a new consortium of north-west firms set up to find legal businesses for sale.
James Maxey (pictured, left, with Steve Taylor of RBS) managing partner of Express Solicitors, said the number of cases on its books has risen in two years from 2,355 to 6,833.
He added: ‘The funding package we have secured with RBS will enable us to focus on the growth of the business without having to compromise on other areas. It is our intention to begin to look at more competitor acquisitions as an additional means of securing growth and the funding will support this.’
Express was founded in 2000 and was granted an alternative business structure licence by the SRA on 1 April last year to allow the firm to bring in non-legal professionals.
On the other side of the Pennines, a firm with nine offices across Yorkshire has expansion plans of its own after securing what it describes as a ‘seven-figure sum’.
Switalskis was founded in 1993 specialising in child care cases and criminal law. A series of acquisitions and management changes since then has changed the emphasis to areas such as conveyancing and clinical negligence, meaning legal aid-funded work now makes up less than half the firm's £10m annual income.
The firm has secured funding from Yorkshire Bank to increase staff numbers and make acquisitions.
In April 2013 Switalskis acquired firm Burridge Bloss in York. This followed the 2012 acquisitions of Parker Bird Gardner Solicitors in Huddersfield, and Green Williamson Solicitors in Wakefield, Pontefract and Leeds. The ambition now is to expand beyond the county boundaries.
Managing director John Durkan said: ‘Although our roots are in Yorkshire we have a UK-wide reputation for our services and in 2015 we will be aiming to strengthen that reputation.’