Lawyers’ growth gets major boost

Irwin Mitchell's new regional managing partner, Paul Firth (left) and group chief executive John Pickering
Irwin Mitchell's new regional managing partner, Paul Firth (left) and group chief executive John Pickering
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Irwin Mitchell is targeting further growth after securing a £60 million, four-year finance package with three major UK banks.

The deal, with HSBC’s Yorkshire Corporate team as the lead provider, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking and Royal Bank of Scotland, also includes an additional £30m ‘accordion facility,’ giving the Sheffield-based, leading national law firm access to further expansion funding if more opportunities arise.

Irwin Mitchell has clinched backing for its ambitious expansion plans at a time when many other UK law firms have been facing difficult financial times, with some being forced to close or merge.

The deal comes 18 months after the firm became the first legal business to gain multiple licences to operate the new Alternative Business Structure, which allows law firms to introduce non-lawyers as senior managers and partners and raise equity finance.

The firm, based at Millsands, close to Sheffield’s city centre, has grown significantly since then, completing five acquisitions, unveiling plans to open its ninth regional office – in Southampton – and recruiting more than 30 experts to partner-level positions.

New recruits include chief financial officer Andrew Merrick, who joined the firm a year ago from airline and logistics company Dart Group.

The funding deal also comes nine months after Irwin Mitchell boosted its income to more than £200 million for the first time.

Group chief executive John Pickering said: “The fact that we have been able to agree this facility with our banks at a time when the legal sector faces some real challenges demonstrates the strength of our business financially.

“We have a clear plan in place to build on the impressive growth we have delivered in recent years.

“Our investment to date in acquisitions and recruitment has been a real signal of our intention to take advantage of the right opportunities when they arise. We will continue to seek out those opportunities and we are grateful to our banking partners for the considerable support they have shown.”