Belfast Telegraph

Merger sealed for legal firm with Belfast office

By Margaret Canning

A Scottish law firm with an office in Belfast is set to merge with a bigger international rival, it has been confirmed.

Commercial firm McGrigors, which took over long-established Northern Ireland partnership L'Estrange and Brett in 2009, will lose its name and brand identity after joining forces with London-based Pinsent Masons.

The proposed merger, which was revealed in the Belfast Telegraph last month, was backed by the firms' partners last week.

The new entity will employ over 2,500 people including over 1,500 lawyers.

Yesterday the parties appeared to give a commitment to the future of the Belfast office, with a spokesman saying the new business would have "a significant presence in each of the UK's three legal jurisdictions."

A move to new upmarket offices from its current Bridge Street premises is also on the cards.

It's understood the firm has been looking at setting up at The Soloist building, which would make it the first tenant in the Laganside office block.

Paul McBride, a partner in the Belfast office, said the merger was "fantastic news for the firm and for our Northern Ireland clients."

"Over the past two years we have seen first-hand the benefits of being part of a wider UK network, creating new connections and opportunities for our clients.

"This deal will give us a greater level of international reach which will further enhance our ability to assist our clients, no matter where they are doing business."

While the deal is being described as a 'merger', Pinsent Masons, which has 258 partners and an international presence, including the Middle East, has effectively taken over UK firm McGrigors, which has 102 partners.

Chris Mullen, senior partner of Pinsent Masons, said: "We've been very encouraged by the strong support from among our clients and the resoundingly positive reception to the merger proposal by our partners."