O’Connors advises Jackson Canter Group on Lees Solicitors acquisition

The Jackson Canter Group – one of the North West’s fastest growing law firms – has acquired Lees Solicitors LLP, signalling a major step towards becoming one of the region’s largest providers of legal services.

The acquisition sees two of the region’s leading firms combining to deliver an enhanced service to customers. Lees Solicitors, founded in 1889, provides a range of personal and commercial legal services – with particular specialisms in clinical negligence and Court of Protection cases – and has offices in Birkenhead, Heswall and West Kirby.

Jackson Canter offers consultancy for individuals and businesses across specialisms including immigration, actions against the police, employment and family law. Moreover, Broudie Jackson Canter, one of the Jackson Canter Group’s subsidiaries, acted on behalf of 20 of the families involved in the Hillsborough disaster, which saw the country’s longest ever jury proceedings come to a close with the inquest verdict last month.

The agreement will bring together Jackson Canter Group’s longstanding reputation and Lees Solicitors’ expertise and established customer base, strengthening a group-wide commitment to innovation and business development. This acquisition expands the Group’s geographical range from the Wirral to Liverpool and across Greater Manchester.

The deal almost doubles the firm’s headcount to over 280 and marks the largest acquisition to date for the Jackson Canter Group, which is pursuing a programme of rapid expansion coupled with healthy organic growth across its current Liverpool and Manchester offices.

Andrew Holroyd CBE, executive chairman at the Jackson Canter Group and former president of The Law Society of England and Wales, said: “This is a momentous time for the firm – and there’s no doubt Lees was a natural choice to support our continued growth. The acquisition of Lees will enhance our network and ability to service even more individuals and businesses throughout the North West and beyond. The significant alignment and breadth of our services, together with a shared customer-centric culture, will enable us to ensure the highest levels of quality continue during this exciting period of expansion across the region. The new board boasts a potent combination of youth and experience, together with energy and expertise. This puts the firm in the strongest position yet to make a difference to individuals, businesses and society through the practice of law. We are wholly committed to becoming one of the North West’s largest and most respected firms.”

Joanna Kingston-Davies, COO of the Jackson Canter Group and former CEO of Lees, said: “Lees Solicitors has been serving the community for 127 years and we’re delighted to be starting this new chapter in our history with such a well-regarded and ambitious business. The Jackson Canter Group is a forward-thinking firm with an excellent reputation among individuals, businesses and the legal sector alike.”

The deal follows the Jackson Canter Group’s successful acquisition of boutique firm Cope & Co in 2015, as well as a strong financial year with a 15 per cent increase in turnover and a 20 per cent increase in underlying profit.

Mark O’Connor, John Spofforth and Pamela Rafiq from O’Connors provided legal advice to the Jackson Canter Group and Peter Taaffe of BWMacFarlane provided corporate finance advice.