A firm which admitted last year to struggling during the pandemic has been bought following administration.
Viewpoint Hill & Abbott Solicitors, based in Chelmsford, appointed administrators last Friday as the business ceased to operate.
Neighbouring firm Pinney Talfourd announced on the same day that the practices had merged, saying the enlarged business would allow clients to benefit from greater collective expertise and service areas.
Pinney Talfourd manging partner Philip Cockram said: ‘We have known the firm well over the years and worked closely with them on many transactions. We have always admired their professionalism and integrity and the quality of the advice they provide.
‘We see this merger as an important step in our longer term plans to develop our practice and become the firm of choice to clients and staff across the region.’
There was no indication in the statement about whether any staff from Hill & Abbott had lost their jobs following the merger,
Hill & Abbott, which was founded in the 1880s, appointed Louise Baxter, Dominik Thiel-Czerwinke and Jamie Taylor, all of Begbies Traynor, to handle its affairs. The administrators have yet to make any public statement about what caused the firm to close, but last year’s accounts, covering the year ending 31 October, indicate it had been ‘significantly affected’ by a major restricting of business activities and by the Covid-19 pandemic. Both factors were said to be having an ongoing adverse impact on the business into the current financial year.
The firm said: ‘The pandemic, particularly in the last six months for this year, saw a significant reduction in the demand for legal services from the company’s core customer base – small and medium-sized businesses.’
The board said that following management restructures over the previous 18 months, together with the emergence of the UK economy from the worst effects of the pandemic, the business was in a strong position to be profitable again in the short to medium-term.
The accounts show that creditors were owed £921,800 within one year – an increase of 43% compared to 2019. The firm said it had £529,000 in unbilled fee income and was owed £1.2m overall. Staff numbers had fallen from 33 to 29 in the year.