Law firm Shakespeare Martineau has announced a major strategy update that will see the firm more than double in size by 2023 and pursue bigger ambitions beyond that.

Proactively seeking mergers, acquisitions, team recruitment and lateral hires – but with a difference. Shakespeare Martineau is becoming a ‘house of brands’ group with the mindset that each brand will be able to ‘have their cake and eat it’ as the structure offers other firms an alternative route to growth.

Already within the multi-brand model group LLP – alongside Shakespeare Martineau – is debt and loss recovery business Corclaim, personal injury and clinical negligence specialist firm Lime, and town planning consultancy Marrons Planning. The immediate priority for the group is to grow the current brands as well as welcoming new brands under a new group holding LLP, across both legal and complementary services.

“What we’re trying to achieve, for the brands we have and those likeminded people who join us, is the best of both worlds,” said Sarah Walker-Smith, CEO of Shakespeare Martineau.

“So often in our industry large and aggressive businesses will acquire firms only to destroy the very heart of that brand and the reason they have loyal clients – we want to reverse that. What we’re looking for is teams, individuals and brands that are similar to our current offering to enhance existing teams. Also complementary locations, service offerings, routes to market, or stand-out brands – with a loyal client base – to join our professional services group and benefit from the economies of scale, bigger buying power, higher profile and access to a wider client base, while maintaining their own personality, identity and what makes them special.

“We will have heavyweight brands across the major UK regions, each playing a key role in their communities while together providing national reach and strength – providing clients with a superior integrated experience.

“What is crucial however, is that any brand or people we work with share our values and purpose. Culture is absolutely critical to us – so ensuring a strong fit and believing in a shared culture code is an absolute must.

“The benefit of a portfolio, ‘house of brands’, approach helps mitigate risk for those businesses, brands, and people that join us; having a wider sector and service offering means we’ll be in a better position to weather future economic shifts and enable individual brands to focus on what they do best without limiting the broader group’s growth trajectory.”

Our culture means we see people as people and play to strengths irrespective of their professional qualification. Our membership also reflects our client services, including non-legal partners such as tax experts and town planners, as well as those who don’t have a legal background.

Cementing her commitment to the group and the plans for growth, Sarah Walker-Smith has recently joined Shakespeare Martineau’s membership.

She added: “I’m really proud to join the membership alongside my colleagues and demonstrate my full commitment to the growth of the group. The membership is full of positive passionate people and this enthusiasm spills out to the wider business and our clients see this too.”

The firm has also confirmed that it is already in well-developed discussions with several individuals and brands, and welcomes approaches from interested teams.

Sarah continued: “We feel now is the right time for change. We want to create something sustainable for the benefit of all of us, and that is fit for the future. A group of strong, complementary brands each sharing a common purpose and working collaboratively to make something bigger, better and unique, while maintaining and celebrating individuality, and remaining at the heart of our communities.

“In short: we see the current environment as a unique opportunity to drive permanent changes in our sector and business community for the benefit of all. This is both an ethical and commercial stance.

“We don’t want to go back to before, we will to go back to better.”

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Published: 17th November 2020
Area: Firm News

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Sarah Walker-Smith is the CEO of Shakespeare Martineau. She is the first female, non-lawyer CEO in the legal top 50.

A trained accountant having worked for PWC and Deloitte, Sarah puts people at the core of everything she does as well as the marketing and branding experience gained at Boots plc

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