TWO law firms have merged in a move that is set to shake up the regional legal services market.
Several months of negotiations finally came to a successful conclusion last week when North-East-based Crutes completed the merger with national outfit DWF.
Under the terms of the deal the Crutes name, which dates back 104 years, is due to disappear.
But the firm said the merger was a positive move that would allow the enlarged company to pursue an aggressive growth strategy.
Helen Ager, managing partner at Crutes, said: “Joining forces with DWF is a significant move for us.
“I think that we have recognised for several years that the legal market is going to continue on the trend towards consolidation and we have also recognised that there is a limit to what a firm of our size can achieve alone.
“While recognising that we may need to become part of a larger entity, we didn’t want to make the wrong move.
“We have been considering some type of merger for a long time - we just wanted to make sure it was the right one.”
Ms Ager said DWF, one of the country’s fastest-growing firms, represented the “perfect fit”.
“With our strength in insurance alongside our established services to businesses, we believe DWF is an ideal match to enable us to add real weight to our offering here in the North-east,” she said.
The firm employs 95 staff across offices in Stockton, Newcastle and Carlisle and generates annual revenues of more than £5m.
The new combined business will have a total of 102 staff in the North-East and 1,500 nationally.