Having successfully absorbed Dawson Mason & Carr and Wheltons into TWM Solicitors in 2012, the Firm are confident that their expertise and culture is right for other high quality practices that, because of their size, might be finding the going tough in the current climate.
TWM Solicitors can look back on the past nine months with a certain degree of satisfaction that they have successfully integrated two practices into the Firm. Managing Partner, Patrick Stewart, is keen to put the experience and knowledge gained to good use as the Firm considers other options to bolster its plans for growth.
Readers of this publication will not need to be told of the challenges over recent years of managing a law firm, and like everyone else TWM has had its share of ups and downs.
Competitive pressures, the burden of regulation and increased operating costs affect everyone and the economic reality is that not all can survive unscathed. TWM sees an opportunity to discuss options with successful firms that have a similar service ethos, but which might be considering their options as a consequence of their size, and the pressures referred to above. Dawson Mason & Carr was one such example.
Dawson Mason & Carr
Dawson Mason & Carr had been a feature on Guildford’s High Street since 1979. A successful residential property practice, built on word of mouth recommendation focussing pre-dominantly on substantial properties in London and the south west suburbs.
Mark Carr explained: “We had an excellent reputation for what we did, clients and agents understood and valued the personal service element. The issue for us was that in recent years we had to run twice as hard just to stand still. The recession meant clients wanted best possible value and would make the mistake of sacrificing service for price”.
“My partner Mike Dawson and I saw no quick fix, and so concluded that for the benefit of ourselves as well as our clients, we would be better off being part of a larger firm. Looking back, putting together the deal with TWM was relatively painless and the firms merged in April 2012. It was clear to us there was a good cultural fit, but then I had the benefit of knowing TWM’s Senior Partner, Howard House, as we had been at university together and had stayed in touch on and off in the 30+ years since”.
“The benefits of joining with TWM became apparent from early on. A larger firm with systems and processes helps your efficiency. We are now able to introduce our clients to a wider range of services other than property, some have instructed us on other private client matters, and appreciate having the service under one roof co-ordinated by someone that they know and trust.
“Finally, one of the first things I learnt after joining was that TWM was in discussions with our friends at law firm Wheltons, just up the road, about also coming on board.
Lynn Child, Senior Partner at Wheltons
“Our circumstances were not dissimilar to those described by Mark above, although we were a slightly larger firm known for family and matrimonial work. TWM had experienced a couple of partner departures in its family team at the end of 2011, and I think this opened the door to the possibility of our firms coming together. TWM’s reputation for family work has long been known about and as both firms were in the same town, I had felt over the years that if Wheltons were ever to consider a merger partner that TWM would be a good fit. Circumstances came to pass that now was the right time”.
“All Wheltons professional staff came across to TWM in July and an early challenge was to integrate the two teams. A successful away day helped get things off to a good start where the foundations were laid for a strategy to develop the practice going forward. This will be led by new Head of Department, Sarah Cornes. Sarah joined at a similar time to us (from Howell Jones Partnership), although she had previously been at TWM for 17 years from (1991 - 2008). This is a really good example of the pragmatic approach that characterises the TWM way if you like. The firm is constructive in its approach, does not burn bridges and benefits come as a result”.
To discuss any matters arising from this article, please contact TWM Solicitors Managing Partner, Patrick Stewart on 01483 752700 or email email@example.com
This article first appeared in the Autumn 2012 issue of Surrey Lawyer