Leading Thames Valley law firms Gardner Leader and Clark Holt Commercial Solicitors have agreed terms for a merger which will see the creation of a £12m turnover firm with offices in Swindon, Newbury, Thatcham, Maidenhead, Windsor and London.
The combined firm, operating under the Gardner Leader brand, will see its staff numbers increase to nearly 160 with the addition of the 15-strong Clark Holt team. Philip Humphreys and Jeff Jenkins, the shareholders in Clark Holt, will become equity partners in Gardner Leader.
Clark Holt, Commercial Solicitors was formed in 1995 and specialises in corporate, commercial and commercial real estate, and is widely recognised as a leader in these fields.
Gardner Leader has been in Newbury since 1895 and has seen rapid growth over the last 10 years, expanding into Maidenhead in 2014 and into London and Windsor since 2019.
Gardner Leader managing partner, Derek Rodgers said: “Clark Holt is a very well-regarded and successful niche commercial law firm. Our two firms have had a very close relationship for many years, with Gardner Leader assisting many Clark Holt clients when they had needs outside the core Clark Holt specialisms. We know that their approach, ethos and culture are a great match for our own. We are excited to be adding such a high quality team to our firm to cement our position as one of the leading firms in the Thames Valley.”
Philip Humphreys, the managing partner of Clark Holt, said: “We were able to successfully navigate the challenges for our firm raised by the COVID pandemic due to our strong and loyal client base and the commitment and teamwork of our colleagues. Following an approach from Gardner Leader, however, we felt that the time was now right to take the “best-friend” relationship we have had with them for some time to the next stage. We believe that this will enable us to more easily access wider markets alongside our new colleagues and provide a wider range of services to our clients.”
Former partners of Clark Holt, Richard Clark and Jeremy Holt, both now retired, said: “As the founders of Clark Holt we strongly support the merger with Gardner Leader because of the additional legal services it will provide for the commercial clients of the firm.”
The two firms are targeting a completion date for the merger later in the summer.