Irwin Mitchell expands PI offering with acquisition of Manchester boutique

Irwin Mitchell has acquired Manchester firm McCool Patterson Hemsi (MPH) Solicitors, as part of a concerted push into the personal injury (PI) and claims markets.

Under the terms of the deal, MPH’s five directors and a team of 24 lawyers and support staff will transfer to Irwin Mitchell, which broke the £200m turnover barrier for the first time in 2012-13.

MPH – which specialises in serious injury, clinical negligence and armed forces work – will operate as an alternative business structure (ABS) and subsidiary of Irwin Mitchell from its offices in Manchester and Newmarket.

Irwin Mitchell was able to make the move after it became the first multiple-licensed ABS last August.

“This will give us greater strength in depth in an important area for our business and is in line with our strategy to take advantage of the right opportunities available to us now we are an ABS,” commented Irwin Mitchell chief executive of personal legal services Andrew Tucker.

“We already have a very strong position and reputation in the personal legal services sector and we plan to grow our presence still further as and when any future opportunities emerge.”

Earlier this year, Irwin Mitchell told Legal Week it intends to buy up books of personal injury (PI) work from other law firms in response to the Government’s overhaul of the low-value claims system and its impact on PI profit margins.

“We have developed clear plans to expand our business across all the markets we operate within, both in the UK and internationally,” added chief executive John Pickering.

“This deal is one example of that but we will continue to work to find other opportunities to grow Irwin Mitchell into a very significant presence in the legal sector.”

“We attribute the success of MPH to the fact that we strive to put our clients at the centre of everything we do,” added Geraldine McCool, Director at MPH Solicitors. “We are delighted to be joining a firm that shares that ethos.”

The acquisition is the latest chapter in a period of expansion for Irwin Mitchell.

In October the firm hired Pinsent Masons litigation head Nigel Kissack along with Squire Sanders intellectual property partner Alex Newman and former Brown Rudnick lawyer Kirsten Doherty, bringing the number of appointments for the firm’s business legal services division to 10 in 2013-14.