DWF secures £5m deal to merge with Newcastle boutique

Expansive northwest firm DWF has sealed a deal to acquire Newcastle stalwart Crutes in the New Year.

DWF will merge with Crutes, an insurance specialist with annual revenues of more than £5m, on 1 January 2012. The law firm employs 95 people, including 16 partners and has offices in Newcastle, Carlisle and Stockton on Tees.

Commenting on the deal, DWF managing partner Andrew Leaitherhead told Legal Week: “Crutes is the right balance for us in terms of its public sector and insurance focus and it is a good fit in terms of our strategy to grow in the Northeast. The Northeast is a dynamic marketplace with a lot of opportunities and this will give us more depth and a greater reach to tap into them.”

The move underlines an expansive period for the Manchester-based DWF, which has grown rapidly in recent years as part of a bid to build a national practice. The 129-partner firm, which is best known for its insurance and litigation work, saw its revenues grow by 15% to hit £83m in 2010-11, making it the 40th largest UK law firm by turnover.

At also emerged earlier this month that DWF has held merger discussions with a number of firms, including fellow Manchester practice Cobbetts. The discussions with Cobbetts, which would potentially increase DWF’s revenues to over £120m, are still ongoing.

The firm also took over Manchester private client boutique Lane-Smith in May, with all 11 members of the niche practice moving across to DWF.

Crutes managing partner Helen Ager commented: “DWF is an ideal match to enable us to add real weight to our offering here in the Northeast. By combining sector knowledge, legal expertise and resources with DWF, it will help us to strengthen our client offering.”

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