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Harrison Clark Rickerbys and Hewitsons to merge creating £65m law firm in Cambridge and nationwide




Harrison Clark Rickerbys (HCR) and Hewitsons are to merge, creating a law firm of about 780 people and a £65million turnover, it was revealed today (May 13).

The law firms are in the “advanced stages of merger talks”, with the deal expected to be completed by the end of May.

Colin Jones, managing partner at Hewitsons, and Inger Anson, head of Cambridge office, corporate, for HCR
Colin Jones, managing partner at Hewitsons, and Inger Anson, head of Cambridge office, corporate, for HCR

The Cambridge teams from both firms are due to be move into new premises, with details of that expected soon, while Hewitsons’ team in the capital will move into the HCR office at 62 Cornhill, in the City of London.

The move adds Northampton and Milton Keynes to the nine offices operated by HCR, which has more than 550 staff and partners and a turnover of about £35m. It represents the latest in a series of mergers for HCR as it has expanded nationwide.

In Cambridge, Northampton and Milton Keynes, the combined firm will be known as HCR Hewitsons.

Inger Anson, currently HCR’s head of Cambridge office, corporate, will head up the combined teams in Cambridge.

Inger Anson, partner and head of HCR’s Cambridge office
Inger Anson, partner and head of HCR’s Cambridge office

She said: “Setting up in a crowded legal market in 2018 our intention was always to offer something new and fresh reflecting the unmet needs of the Cambridge market.

“This merger is an exciting next step in our mission to offer the market something different and in Hewitsons we have a partner who shares our ethos and passion for people.

“This merger will create a dynamic new team able to offer a genuine breadth and depth of expertise to our clients and opportunities for our staff.”

Colin Jones, managing partner of Hewitsons, said: “Joining HCR is great news for our staff and clients alike. Hewitsons has an absolute focus on our clients and a strong commitment to our people and HCR shares our core values.

“We have successfully come through a challenging year and the merger will increase career opportunities for staff, provide us with a platform stretching from east to west and enable our clients to benefit from the full range of legal specialisms provided by combined firms full-service legal advice and strong regional network.”

Colin Jones, Hewitsons’ managing partner. Picture: Keith Heppell
Colin Jones, Hewitsons’ managing partner. Picture: Keith Heppell

HCR’s Cambridge office is at Compass House, in Chivers Way, Histon. The firm, which also offices in Birmingham, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Hereford, Thames Valley, Worcester and the Wye Valley, provides a full spectrum of legal services to both business and private clients. It also has specialist teams focusing on health and social care, education, technology, agricultural and rural affairs, finance and financial services, defence, security and the forces, and construction.

The company can trace its roots to Cheltenham in 1796, when Rickerbys was founded.

Harrison Clark and Jordans merged in 2009, and with Shawcross in 2011.Then Harrison Clark and Rickerbys merged in 2013, giving the firm its current name and creating a top 100 law firm.

Other mergers have followed - with K&M Family Law in Birmingham in 2014, with fisheries experts Simon Jackson Solicitors in 2016, with Gordon Lutton in Hereford in 2017, real estate specialist Houlden Sweeney in 2019 and with restructuring and insolvency specialists Sprecher Grier in London in the same year, before a merger with Stuart Brothers in Cardiff this year.

Hewitsons, which has had offices at Shakespeare House in Newmarket Road since 1988, offers a range of services for individuals, businesses and institutions, including charities, educational and sports bodies. Operating UK-wide, it also has a global reach for the network of independent law firms it established, called LawExchange International, stretching across 28 countries.

It traces its history back to 1844, when John and Henry Becke founded a legal practice in Northampton.

The name comes from Roy Barker Hewitson, who joined the firm - then known as A H Wild - on qualification in 1937 and became a partner in 1946 after his war service.It was known from 1955 to 1989 as Wild Hewitson & Shaw.

After a merger with Becke Phipps & Co in 1989, it became known as Hewitson Becke & Shaw, which was abbreviated to Hewitsons in 2003.

It absorbed the Newmarket practice of Ennions and, in July 2015, merged with City firm Moorhead James LLP. In May 2018, it changed its name to Hewitsons LLP, operating out of offices in Cambridge, London, Northampton and Milton Keynes.

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