Bamboo Group acquires Midlands law firm as platform growth continues

31 July 2023

Midlands law firm Hawkins Hatton has become the fifth practice to join the Bamboo Group, the ground-breaking platform that allows solicitors to launch, build or sell their law firms.

The acquisition has been facilitated with a credit facility from Harbour, the world’s largest independent litigation funder, which has added law firm financing and lending to its existing litigation funding business.

Hawkins Hatton joins Bamboo brands Carbon Law Partners, HooperHyde, Unique Solutions Legal and Newport Land & Law. All operating on the Bamboo platform which allows firms to focus on client work and develop their business, whilst Bamboo looks after the back and middle office.

Hawkins Hatton is a highly regarded corporate boutique and will retain its name following the deal. Its two owners are remaining with the firm. A corporate law practice, it has a strong client base of owner-managed businesses and sits on the panels of two leading banks, as well as one of the country’s biggest property developers.

Joining Bamboo and its true ‘house of brands’ will give the firm a wider network with Bamboo Group to which it can refer private client and other work, and the benefit of cost savings generated by shared services.

Bamboo founder Michael Burne, a former City solicitor, in-house lawyer and listed company director, says: “Hawkins Hatton fits the profile of firms we look for perfectly. It is a well-run business with a strong local brand, high quality business relationships, repeat clients, excellent lawyers, and great growth potential.”
“Our vision is to create an eco-system which ensures small to mid-sized law firms have a sustainable future by taking away the burden of regulation, insurance, financial management, technology and administration. I see significant potential to grow Bamboo and expect this to be the first of a series of acquisitions. A bigger network generates more cross-selling opportunities and greater economies of scale.

“Harbour’s ongoing support with facilities for deals that make sense demonstrates that there are funders out there who understand the changing legal market. We continue constructive discussions with Harbour to grow our existing facilities on the new opportunities Bamboo is developing in excess of £30m.”

Colin Rodrigues of Hawkins Hatton says: “Joining Bamboo is a terrific move for our practice, our people and our clients. It is a compelling offer that means we can focus on what we are good at – high-quality commercial legal advice – while leaving administration in the hands of experienced professionals.

“We see real opportunities for growth, not least by working with other members of the Bamboo Group.”
Ellora MacPherson of Harbour adds: “We have been providing capital to the legal market for 15 years and are now looking more broadly at what we can do to help firms grow and develop. There are lawyers out there like Michael and fellow director, William Brewis, who have strong business models and realistic ambitions, and we are keen to play our part in supporting them. Bamboo’s leaders have strong backgrounds inside and outside legal services in building large businesses and that blend of sector and management expertise was attractive to Harbour.”

Bamboo both owns law firms and also provides an ‘out of the box’ SRA-regulated platform for start-up law brands or those that want to grow without the distraction of operating issues. It is looking to acquire firms with fee income from £3m to £20m.

Bamboo has also announced that Kieren Windsor has joined as director of platform services. Formerly of Lockton and Aon, Mr Windsor has significant experience of working with law firms on operational improvements that delivers clear, impactful and measurable growth.

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