Law firm Stephens Scown has acquired a Cornish legal practice as it bids to extend its reach with SMEs as part of wider growth plans.
Stephens Scown has acquired Brightley Commercial, based near Truro, with owner and sole practitioner Robert Brightley set to become a partner in the firm's corporate team from September 1.
Brightley Commercial, which has been established for 11 years, focuses on legal advice to SMEs including company formations, acquisitions and disposals and commercial agreements.
Robert Camp, managing partner of Stephens Scown said: "We believe there is scope for considerable growth in Cornwall by maintaining our focus on strong client relationships and excellent service. This acquisition cements that approach as both firms share the same client service ethos."
Robert Brightley from Brightley Commercial said: "This coming together of two well-established firms, both with their roots in Cornwall, can only enhance the services we provide all our clients and I'm delighted to be joining what I regard to be the best legal firm in the county."
Mr Camp said Brightley's focus on medium-sized SMEs, with national expertise in chiropractors and dentists, was the driver for the acquisition. He said that Stephens Scown, which has offices in Exeter, Truro and St Austell, was seeking to expand further through similar small acquisitions and lateral hires.
"It's not our aspiration at the moment to go into Bristol, London or Southampton. Our strategy is to service the Westcountry," added Mr Camp.
The firm has recently announced turnover growth of 8%, resulting in a bonus for staff, although Mr Camp said that it would just miss a turnover target for next year of £15 million. "I think we won't get to £15 million next year but it will be pretty close. We're not slaves to the figures – we want sustainable growth and the last three years we have got either 7 or 8%," he said.
Mr Camp said the firm's strategy was to strengthen its focus on client services in preparation for future economic growth – and increased competition as a result of the Legal Services Act. This opened up the market to operators such as the Co-operative Group who will increasingly offer volume transactions such as conveyancing at lower prices, leading to many law firms adopting a more specialised approach with a strong emphasis on customer service.