Top-50 law firm Weightmans and north of England-based Ward Hadaway have confirmed they are in early stage talks about a potential merger that would create a £130m practice.

In a joint statement, both firms said clients and staff are ‘currently talking to each other to see if there are benefits of working closer together’.

Ward Hadaway, which has offices in Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester, is a full-service law firm with around 450 staff (including 80 partners) and annual revenues of about £36m. Weightmans has 180 partners and a headcount of 1,400 in 11 UK offices, with income of £95m.

The combined statement added: ‘We have shared strategic objectives and a significant number of shared clients.

‘Whether or not these discussions will lead to anything permanent is, at the moment, unknown but we are enjoying getting to know each other better, sharing ideas and the discussions will be a benefit to our businesses, our clients and our staff even if nothing permanent comes of the discussion.’