Friday 18 January 2013 by John Hyde

In the latest sign of consolidation in the legal sector, business firm DWF today announced a merger with insurance firm Fishburns.

The deal, to be completed on 1 February, will create DWF Fishburns with a total headcount of 1,780 across the UK and Ireland.

Last year, DWF completed a merger with Scottish commercial law firm Biggart Baillie, which gave it a presence in Edinburgh and Glasgow for the first time. The firm has long stated its aspiration to become a top-20 firm.

The latest move will bolster presence in London in particular, bringing the combined firms' team in the capital to 288, incorporating an insurance team of 248.

For the first time, DWF can also expand into Dublin, where Fishburns has an office.

Andrew Leaitherland (pictured), managing partner and chief executive of DWF, said: 'This merger significantly enhances our position in the professional indemnity market.

'Fishburns' experience enables us to continue our investment in niche practice areas and consequently raise the bar around client delivery.'

DWF last year reported a pre-tax profit of £24.2m compared with £20.8m the previous year on a turnover which rose by 24% to £102m. For the financial year to 31 March 2012, Fishburns reported turnover of £20.1m, and profit of £5m.

This came on the back of a merger in November 2011 with Newcastle firm Crutes, although talks over a link with national firm Cobbetts were unsuccessful two months later.

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