A Manchester firm and member of a consortium of acquisitive firms has dipped into its £4.1m war chest to buy a neighbouring practice.

Express Solicitors was one of four north-west firms to create the Pi Gateway last year to find other legal businesses up for sale.

After a £4.1m refinancing package from RBS Corporate, completed following the firm’s conversion to alternative business structure status last month, Express has now acquired Manchester firm Lavin Copitch Solicitors.

The deal is worth £250,000 and includes several hundred personal injury files.

Express managing partner James Maxey (pictured, second right) said the firm is determined to expand, despite uncertainty in the personal injury sector.

‘While there are many firms wishing to exit the market there are also plenty of acquiring firms, like Express Solicitors, who want to strengthen their balance sheet and grow turnover,’ he said.

Express joined with Bott & Co, Hilary Meredith and Ralli last October to help PI firms wishing to make a strategic exit from the market either because of retirement, restructuring or a desire to leave the sector.

A number of transactions have since been completed, and Maxey said the collective can help businesses leave in a compliant and well-managed way.

He added: ‘Pi Gateway has the flexibility to co-opt other members to join the group for larger transactions.  

‘The consortium is open to no obligation talks at any time to firms looking to exit the market and make a clean break at a fair price.’

Established in 2000, Express Solicitors is based in Northenden, Manchester.

Specialising in personal injury and accident claims, medical and clinical negligence claims and serious injury cases, the firm currently comprises 148 employees including 13 partners and 47 fee-earners. Lavin Copitch was founded 15 years ago and comprised two partners working out of offices in Altrincham and Gorton.

Express was granted an ABS licence by the SRA on 1 April and said it would allow the firm to bring qualified non-legal professionals to the management structure.