Slater Heelis acquired by legal services group Lawfront

L to R Neil Lloyd, CEO Lawfront, Simon Wallwork and Chris Bishop from Slater Heelis, Axel Koelsh, COO of Lawfront

Private equity backed legal consolidator Lawfront has acquired Manchester law firm Slater Heelis, which says the deal will accelerate its own acquisition strategy.

This is Lawfront’s eighth acquisition, its third in the last twelve months, and another milestone in its growth story as professional services firms are gripped by consolidation activity.

Lawfront’s strategy is to partner with general legal services firms with a leading position in their region, a strong brand for client service, a dedication to their people, and management teams that have a history of delivering profitable growth. Lawfront says it backs these teams to achieve their ambitions through organic growth, further local “merge-in” acquisitions and by bringing investment and expertise in, people, IT and AI, marketing, finance and compliance.

Slater Heelis takes Lawfront’s revenue to approximately £70m, with market-leading profitability, and is an important further step in achieving its vision of building a leading, high- quality, national legal services business.

Slater Heelis is a fast-growing legal services firm that has expanded considerably over the last few years. In the North West it also owns Farleys.

Simon Wallwork, Partner and Head of Corporate, who instigated and led the transaction for Slater Heelis, said: “We started the process last June and the proposition provided by Lawfront is excellent. It has a shared vision of growth and investment and enables Slater Heelis to continue and fulfil its own vision. This transaction will accelerate our acquisition strategy as well as allowing us to invest in our culture and the communities we operate in.”

In 2021, the firm incorporated to implement an ambitious acquisition and organic growth strategy. The acquisition of Towns Needham and NJ Goodman and Co added service lines in Charity Law and Insolvency, as well as a Regulatory Team. These complemented existing market-leading and award-winning teams including Family, Court of Protection and Corporate. 

In 2023, Slater Heelis was one of the first law firms to set up a Share Incentive Plan providing shares in the company to all colleagues.

This transaction allows Slater Heelis to continue its growth strategy, as well as rewarding its shareholders for their hard work and commitment. Working with Lawfront underpins Slater Heelis commitment to its people in their development and rewards, investing more in technology and further enhancing its services for clients.

Neil Lloyd, Lawfront CEO, said: “The deal is further validation of our unique approach to the general legal services market: backing firms’ management teams, preserving their client facing brands, and most importantly, enhancing the prospects of their people. We are seeing rapidly growing interest in our proposition as it addresses the major concerns of succession, legacy and the scale of investment required to remain competitive.

“Slater Heelis has roots in the North West going back 250 years and has a fantastic reputation, not just with its clients for service excellence, but also with its people and communities. I’m really proud to be working with them.”

Chris Bishop Managing Partner, Slater Heelis said: “Our clients are at the forefront of everything we do and this will enable us to continue building the trusted relationships we have with them.”

Lawfront is backed by private equity firm, Blixt Group (Blixt).

Carl Harring, CEO at Blixt, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Slater Heelis through our investment in Lawfront. The firm is an exciting addition to the Lawfront family, with a strong team, a deeply embedded commitment to high quality client service and an ambitious growth agenda, and brings Lawfront revenue to in excess of £70m.

“We look forward to continuing to support Lawfront on its exciting growth trajectory and delivering on its vision to transform the consumer and SME legal market, through partnering with the highest quality law firms in the UK.”

Patrick Simpson, Alvarez and Marsal, who led the deal on behalf of the shareholders, said: “Slater Heelis is a brand that has been operating across the North West for over 250 years with a fantastic reputation for client delivery and a commitment to the communities in which it operates. Lawfront will be a great home for the business moving forward as they continue their investment into the general legal services market and we are delighted to have supported the shareholders through this process. The legal, and broader professional services market, is an area we are expecting to continue to be active across in the short to medium term.”

Advisers on the deal were: Alvarez and Marsal (Patrick Simpson, Richard Lee, Sarah Bowen, Chloe Gauvin); Financial, Cortus (Jenny Kirkham, Lucas Thornley & Diota Akenzi); Legal, Walker Morris (Thomas Mieszkowski, Aakanksha Dalal); Tax, RSM (Colin Smyth, Martin Cooper).


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