Law firm Broomhead & Saul sold out of administration

28 August 2019 3 min. read
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A deal orchestrated by Quantuma administrators has safeguarded the future of legal firm Broomhead & Saul. The 124-year-old firm employs 34 staff, and will continue to operate having been purchased by business law firm Solicitors Title.

The UK legal services market was valued at £35.1 billion in 2018, increasing by 6.3% at current prices on the previous year. Despite the seemingly bullish performance of the market as a whole, however, the fortunes of the majority of law firms are largely obscured by the domination of a select group of entities.

The number of law firms in the UK has stabilised in recent years at around 12,000, although the business model is changing. Almost half of all firms are now incorporated companies and the traditional partnership model has declined dramatically, and this quickly shifting environment has chiefly benefitted the top 100 law firms, who continue to vastly outstrip the growth of the legal market overall. At the same time, the Big Four of the professional services world are encroaching further into the sector, rapidly eating into the market share of traditional law firms.

Law firm Broomhead & Saul sold out of administration

Further down the pecking order then, life has become increasingly difficult for companies of all shapes and sizes. It is not just the likes of Just Costs Solicitors which are falling into administration, long-established historical market incumbents are also feeling the heat. Founded in 1895, Broomhead & Saul has offices in Taunton and Ilminster and provides a full range of legal advisory services, including children and family law, residential property, powers of attorneys and probate law.

Despite this solid foundation, however, the firm found itself in financial difficulties as it attempted to complete key operational changes to remain competitive. Broomhead & Saul appointed administrators from Quantuma at the end of July. Fortunately, Partners Sean Bucknall and Andrew Hosking immediately completed a sale, preserving the 124-year-old brand, and safeguarding the jobs of its 34 staff. The pre-pack sale of Somerset-based law firm sees the business sold to Solicitors Title, a business law firm with offices in Exeter, Yeovil and Totnes, with all operations and assets transferring to the new owner.

Sean Bucknall commented, “Broomhead & Saul is a well-regarded firm in the region, with a historic legacy. The business found itself in difficulties after a number of partners retired in quick succession and has faced challenges with the integration of a new operational system. We are delighted to have found a buyer for the firm.”

Law firm Ashfords provided specialist regulatory guidance and support while advising Quantuma on the sale. Alan Bennett and Crispin Jones have been appointed as the Joint Solicitor Managers to oversee the safe transfer of client files and client monies.

Bennett commented, “We are pleased to have advised on this transaction which has resulted in the preservation of a number of jobs. It illustrates the financial difficulties many law firms are currently facing.”