21st July 2010

Dow Schofield Watts has advised Halliwells on the break-up and sale of its business.

Hill Dickinson has bought the firm’s 19-partner Liverpool office and the remains of its Sheffield practice, while the firm’s London office has been split between a number of firms, with HBJ Gateley Wareing and Barlow Lyde & Gilbert both taking on sizable teams.

HBJ Gateley has recruited City employment partner Guy Guinan, corporate partner Dan Kelmanson and insolvency partner Sadaf Buchanan, while insurance partners Helen Bourne and Damian McPhun have joined Barlows. Remaining partners Catherine Moss and Richard Slaven are joining Fasken Martineau and Pinsent Masons respectively. In total nine fee earners are joining HBJ Gateley in London.

HBJ Gateley has purchased the Manchester commercial practice and Barlows has taken on Halliwells’ Manchester insurance business. The scope of the practice HBJ Gateley has acquired covers practices in banking, corporate, property, insolvency, commercial litigation, employment, pensions and construction.

The news follows a month of negotiations for Halliwells in which two notices of intention to appoint an administrator were filed. The sales of the business were finally confirmed on 20 July 2010, the last day of the notice period.

The deal saw a total of 238 staff – including 17 partners – join Barlows, all of whom are set to start this week.

HBJ Gateley has taken on around 200 staff and lawyers including 40 former partners of Halliwells, while Hill Dickinson has signed up around 89 staff in Liverpool – comprising 19 partners, 41 fee earners and 29 support staff – as well as a further 36 in Sheffield.

Halliwells managing partner Jonathan Brown, who is transferring to Hill Dickinson, said: “This outcome is by far the best possible solution for Halliwells’ Liverpool and Sheffield clients and staff. We are very excited about the future and look forward to joining the Hill Dickinson team.”