Shakespeare Martineau Announces Bristol Expansion

Published: 26th May 2022
Area: Firm News

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Midlands-based law firm Shakespeare Martineau is expanding its geographical footprint into Bristol and the Southwest, following an announced merger with law firm GL Law.

The union will see GL Law become part of the Shakespeare Martineau brand, which is part of legal and professional services group Ampa, transferring more than 60 people and taking the group’s turnover to more than £100 million for financial year 2022/23. 

Acting for businesses, people and their families, GL Law will bolster Shakespeare Martineau’s existing expertise, but also further expand its sector specialisms in the creative industries and leisure and hospitality, as well as increase its geographical reach. 

With headquarters in Bristol and a team in London, GL Law has been acting for owner-managed businesses, SMEs, start-ups and some of the most discerning private clients across the Southwest and beyond for more than 300 years and looks to continue and extend this legacy under the Shakespeare Martineau brand.  

Part of legal and professional services group Ampa, Shakespeare Martineau’s partnership with GL Law is in line with the wider group strategy of investing in and bolstering the brands within the group portfolio to truly unlock their potential.   

It follows the recent additions into the group of Sussex firm Mayo Wynne Baxter and cyber security consultancy CSS Assure, both of which maintain their standalone brands within the ‘house of brands’.  

Richard Hill, managing director at GL Law said: “Organic growth has been the driving force behind our business for many years. Our strategy to bring innovation to new service areas and empower our team to work collaboratively has resulted in great success for both our clients and the firm. By joining the exceptional team at Shakespeare Martineau, a firm who truly share our values and ethos, we will be in a much stronger position to accelerate our ambitious growth plans. 

“There is a lot of consolidation in the legal market right now, but no one is offering what Shakespeare Martineau does, together we’re bringing a completely new approach to professional services in the local market. 

“This is an exciting next step in our journey, as we continue to build our services across the Southwest, leveraging the national reach, expertise, and resource offered by Shakespeare Martineau, to grow our support for existing and future clients.” 

There are no redundancies expected as part of the merger, and the brand is proactively looking to recruit talent in the area. Those with an equity share in GL Law will be transferred to equity share at an Ampa level and partners based in Bristol will be responsible for driving the Shakespeare Martineau brand locally.  

Cultural fit is crucial in any new team, or entity joining the group and we saw so many synergies with GL Law’s ways of working and our house of brands.

Our House of Brands strategy is a combination of introducing new standalone brands to the group or combining new teams or entities to our current brands, and in the case of GL Law, their existing legal offering and its market, it made sense for it to join Shakespeare Martineau and expand the national reach of this brand within our group

Sarah Walker-Smith, CEO of Shakespeare Martineau and Ampa

GL Law has started its transition to the group and its equity directors will officially become members of Ampa later in 2022.  

GL Law’s Bristol hub will become Shakespeare Martineau’s 11th office hub location, adding to its current presence in Birmingham, Stratford-upon-Avon, Solihull, Nottingham, Leicester, Lincoln, London, Milton Keynes, Sheffield and Glasgow.  

Ampa, which has pending B Corporation status, also includes uninsured loss recovery experts Corclaim, planning consultancy Marrons Planning and its consumer brand Lime Solicitors.  

The group of brands have been named as one of the top 100 large companies to work for as well as top 25 law firms, top 50 large London businesses and top 75 in East and West Midlands, in the Best Companies list 2022. 

All Ampa brands are recruiting lateral hires and teams, and the group is proactively looking for like-minded businesses to join the group as either standalone brands or bolt-ons to its existing portfolio. 

Find out more about who we are and our house of brands strategy.

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Sarah looks to challenge the norm in the legal sector and wider business world. She is passionate about levelling the playing field, encouraging everyone to bring their authentic selves to work.


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On paper we’re a full-service law firm, providing legal services to businesses, organisations, government departments, families and people throughout life and in business. But we offer so much more than that. Expertise, commerciality and relationships are at the very heart of what we do.