LAW firm Davidson Chalmers has boosted its corporate prowess by merging with smaller rival Kergan Stewart, continuing the wave of consolidation taking place across the Scottish legal sector.

The architects behind the deal said the enlarged firm, which from May 1 will be called Davidson Chalmers Stewart, will have a broader geographical reach and offer a wider range of services and expertise than their constituent parts. There will be no job losses as a result of the merger, with the new firm employing a total of 16 partners and 45 staff across existing offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Galashiels.

Andrew Chalmers, founding partner of Davidson Chalmers, will lead the new firm as managing partner, while Alan Stewart, founding partner of Glasgow-based Kergan Stewart, becomes chairman. Kergan Stewart was founded in 2012.

Mr Chalmers highlighted the opportunity to strengthen his firm’s corporate division and the strategic fit of the two organisations as key attractions of the deal.

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While Davidson Chalmers is the bigger of the two, with 11 partners and 40 staff, the merger has significantly boosted its corporate team, with Kergan Stewart bringing five corporate partners to its two. It means the enlarged firm will have seven high-profile partners who have experience advising a broad spectrum of businesses, from start-ups to listed companies.

Mr Chalmers, who co-founded Davidson Chalmers in 1993, said the first merger in his firm’s history has resulted in a “significant addition to our corporate team” while taking Kergan Stewart into areas such as commercial real estate and litigation for the first time. He now hopes to build the firm’s presence in those areas via the Kergan Stewart office, which is now part of the larger operation, in Glasgow

Those partners who had been equity holders at Kergan Stewart will retain that status at Davidson Chalmers Stewart.

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Mr Chalmers said: “They bolster a bit of our practice where we needed to grow, but balancing out with those parts of the Davidson Chalmers business which were already strong.”

The deal comes as a time of continuing consolidation across the Scottish legal sector, sparked initially by the financial crash around a decade ago.

Most recently the acquisitive Thorntons and Blackadders, both based in Dundee, stepped in to carve up Edinburgh law firm Morisons Solicitors in a pre-pack administration deal in March.

The deal marked the second time Thorntons had swooped on a failed rival, having bought out Cupar-based Pagan Osborne in a pre-pack deal towards the end of 2017. Long-established firms such as Tods Murray, McClure Naismith and Semple Fraser have also disappeared in recent years.

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But the consolidation has not only been caused by business failures. Firms in Scotland have also been busy making bolt-on acquisitions. Last week Gildeas acquired Glasgow-based Fulton’s Solicitors and Estate Agents. That followed the acquisition by TLT of commercial property specialist Leslie Wolfson & Co in October.

However, Mr Chalmers said the Kergan Stewart deal was not a “reaction to other moves in the marketplace”. And he does not anticipate the firm making any further acquisitions, though it may look to boost its team through hires. Mr Chalmers said: “It is more [about] us seizing a really good opportunity for both firms. We are not becoming significantly bigger, but we are still preserving the attributes both firms have.”

Mr Chalmers declined to comment on what the deal would mean for the firm’s turnover expectations.

Alan Stewart said: “This is an exciting development for both firms as we have the same strategic focus and business ambitions and share very similar cultural values. In combining our resources and areas of expertise the merged firm will be able to offer a wider range of services, whilst continuing to deliver the highest quality service and value to our clients.”