McMillan Williams Solicitors secures £5m equity finance from BGF

UK legal services market grew at 4.7% between 2009-2013 despite recession and could be worth £38bn by 2018

High street law firm McMillan Williams Solicitors has received an investment of £5m equity finance from the BGF for a minority stake in the company.

Founded in 1983 with several high street branches in and around South London and the South East, the practice now has 18 locations and services clients throughout London, Kent, Sussex and Devon in areas including conveyancing, personal injury and family law.

During the past three years the company claims to have increased its revenues by 70% and are on track to turnover £18m in the year ending April 2015.

The finance will be used to open a further eight offices in London and the South East over the next two years, and for the hiring of around 75 new solicitors and legal staff across the firm. The funds also open the possibility of recruiting high quality legal professionals and moving into new practice areas, including commercial conveyancing, mental health, financial claims on divorce and civil litigation.

The UK legal services market has seen growth of 4.7% from 2009-2013, and is expected to grow at a rate of 3% for the next five years – driving the total market value to £38bn by 2018.

Colum Smith, CEO at McMillan Williams, commented: “This is an exciting new chapter for our business and one that will bring positive developments for both our clients and our staff. We have built a very successful and well-regarded legal firm over the past few years and our staff have worked incredibly hard to get to where we are now.

“We were attracted to BGF’s alignment of interests with ours, their offering of patient capital that could be deployed over a longer time period and also to their ability to provide follow-on funding should markets like conveyancing continue to perform strongly and our growth outstrip expectations. That type of support, guidance & backing is unusual in the legal field. This is excellent news for everyone associated with our business.”

Erin Hallock, senior investment manager at BGF, who joins the board of McMillan Williams, said: “From our first discussions it was clear that McMillan Williams is a business led by an ambitious management team that has consistently delivered high levels of profitability in a fragmented market and where there is a large opportunity to grow organically and through consolidation.”

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