Legal business set to merge with insurers

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The latest business news from lep.co.uk

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DWF, the top 20 legal business with a strong presence in Preston, has announced that it has signed terms to merge with market leading niche insurance practice Watmores.

The merger, which is expected to complete in May 2015, will support the firm’s planned national and international growth strategies by strengthening DWF’s insurance, rail and local authority sector capabilities, deepening relations with the firms’ shared insurance clients and growing DWF’s client base of rail operators and local authorities.

It is expected that through its merger with Watmores, DWF will become one of the UK’s largest law firms for local authority work.

Today’s news follows a period of strategic growth for DWF, as it has expanded from a two-office North West firm in 2006 into one of the UK’s top 20 legal businesses. DWF now employs over 2,500 people, operating across 13 locations in the UK, Ireland and Dubai, and advises a range of FTSE-listed and other market-leading companies across both commercial and insurance legal services.

Through the merger, Watmores will benefit from DWF’s deep and broad insurance and commercial offerings, as well as its scale and infrastructure, and innovative approach to client service delivery which has been facilitated by a £12m investment in technology.

Led by partners Simon Johnson and Ron Mullins, Watmores is a circa £2.5m turnover limited company with a strong reputation for delivering dispute resolution and litigation insurance services to a long-standing insurer client base. Clients include many of the UK’s major insurers, as well as a significant number of local authorities and rail operators. Based on Chancery Lane in London, the firm employs 26 people including five partners and directors, all of whom will move into DWF’s London office in the landmark Walkie Talkie building.

DWF is already recognised as one of the top three law firms in the UK for insurance work with an almost 1,000-strong team advising insurers across the full breadth of insurance law matters, ranging from large and complex insurance cases around the world to high-volume defendant work.