Penningtons Manches and Thomas Cooper complete merger


Penningtons Manches and Thomas Cooper are pleased to confirm that the merger of the two firms has completed. Today marks the first day of trading for the newly combined business, Penningtons Manches Cooper.

Penningtons Manches has merged with Thomas Cooper, a specialist firm known for its work in shipping, international trade and international arbitration with offices in London, Paris, Madrid, Piraeus, Singapore and Sao Paulo.

With a turnover of over £90 million, Penningtons Manches Cooper has some 850 people, including 141 partners, working across 13 UK and international locations.

The merger brings together the firms’ complementary areas of expertise in international litigation and arbitration, building on the recent rapid growth of Penningtons Manches’ commercial disputes practice and the significant experience gained by Thomas Cooper through its work in shipping and commodities.

Alongside established sector expertise in private wealth, real estate and technology, the integrated business will also offer shipping sector clients a full range of services including banking and finance, immigration, employment, real estate litigation, corporate tax and restructuring.

Headquartered in the City of London, Penningtons Manches Cooper will combine its long established commitment to the development of its UK client base with a sharper focus on strategic international development. Offices in Singapore, Paris, Madrid, Piraeus and São Paulo offer the potential to further develop a global client base as well as safeguarding continued access to Europe in the post-Brexit era.

David Raine, CEO of Penningtons Manches Cooper, said: “We are very much looking forward to our future as one firm. Together we have the strongest of foundations on which to build a business that is greater than the sum of its parts: a common philosophy around providing clients with services we are proud of, and a shared commitment to developing and investing in the best lawyers and specialist teams. We can now proudly offer our clients an even broader range of expertise and an increased depth of knowledge and resources.”

Building on the robust and rapid growth of Penningtons Manches’ international litigation and arbitration practice, the merger brings Thomas Cooper’s significant strength and capabilities in the field to complement the firm’s existing areas of expertise. Crucially, it will also provide access to the key international arbitration hubs of Paris and Singapore.

The deal also represents an expansion into the shipping sector, with Thomas Cooper’s clients now having the opportunity to benefit from the full range of Penningtons Manches’ services, including banking and finance, immigration, employment, real estate litigation, corporate tax and restructuring.

Marking Penningtons Manches’ second international venture after successfully establishing an office in San Francisco in 2014, the additional strategic locations will provide the potential to further develop a global client base and ensure continued access to Europe in the post Brexit era.

The merger is the firm’s first major transaction since Penningtons and Manches joined forces in 2013, a deal which is now considered one of the most successful mid-sized law firm mergers in recent years.

David Raine, Penningtons Manches’ CEO, said: “This is a very exciting and historic day for both our firms. Thomas Cooper has a long and proud history in shipping, maritime and cross-border work, with a strong client base served by highly skilled specialist lawyers.

“The large-scale work undertaken by its international arbitration and litigation teams will really enhance the growing importance of this area of work within our current business. Moreover, having an established, on-the-ground presence in a number of important international jurisdictions is a significant advantage as we look to maintain the needs of our increasingly international client base.”

He added: “We are very much aligned from a cultural point of view. Most firms talk of offering a personal, partner-led service and a commitment to putting the client at the centre of everything. This really needs to be a given so it is refreshing and exciting to meet other lawyers like ours who go beyond that, and who evidently love the work they’re doing.”

Tim Kelleher, senior partner at Thomas Cooper commented: “Penningtons Manches has a thriving, robust business and we’ve been seriously impressed with the senior team’s vision and strategy throughout this process. By joining forces, our clients will benefit from a wider service offering both in the UK and internationally – in particular they will have access to skilled teams specialising in immigration, private wealth, corporate and project finance, tax and insolvency and restructuring. Following the merger we’ll be able to utilise the increased resources and turnover, as well as Penningtons Manches’ more advanced operational structure, to help facilitate further growth and innovation.”